Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Albert OGRAKA:
Following the Federal Government’s release of a state-by-state breakdown of the first tranche of Paris Club refunds paid to date, amounting to over N516.38 billion, facts have however emerged that Delta state ranked among five states that got the highest amount of refund from the Federal Government.
The details were contained in a statemeof issued on Friday in Abuja by the Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Nai’Inna Salisu Dambatta.
The states are Rivers N34.92bn, Delta N27.6bn, Akwa Ibom N25.98bn, Bayelsa N24.89bn and Kano N21.7bn.
Analysis of the payment schedule showed that these five states got a total sum of N135.09bn representing 26.1 per cent of the entire amount refunded by the Federal Government to all the states.
This was followed by Lagos N16.74bn, Katsina N16.4bn, Kaduna N15.44bn, Borno N14.68bn, Jigawa N14.2bn, Imo N14.01bn, Niger N14.42bn, Bauchi N13.75bn, Sokoto N12.88bn and Osun N12.62bn.
Others are Cross River N12.15bn, Anambra N12.24bn, Edo N12.18bn, Kebbi N11.95bn, Kogi N11.05bn,Abia N11.43bn, Ogun N11.47bn, Plateau N11.28bn.
Similarly, Yobe state got N10.82bn, Zamfara N10.88bn, Ebonyi N9.01bn, Ekiti N9.54bn, Enugu N10.7bn, Gombe N8.95bn, Nasarawa N9.1bn, Oyo N13.31bn while Kwara got N10.24bn.
The rest are Adamawa N10.25bn, Benue N13.7bn, Ondo N14.01bn, Taraba N9.32bn and Federal Capital Territory N1.36bn.
According to Salisu Dambatta’s statement, the payments were made to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) upon the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari on November 21, 2016 in partial settlement of long-sanding claims by state governments relating to over-deductions from their Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocation for external debt service arising between 1995 and 2002.
It reads in part, “The funds were released to state government as part of the wider efforts to stimulate the economy and were specifically designed to support states in meeting salary and other obligations, thereby alleviating the challenges faced by workers.
“The releases were conditional upon a minimum of 50 per cent being applied to the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions. The Federal Ministry of Finance is reviewing the impact of these releases on the level of arrears owed by state governments.”
Meanwhile, these details have been cleverly contained by government officials in Delta state, due to incessant clamouring and protests by aggrieved workers and pensioners over huge debts in arrears of salaries, pensions and other emoluments.
While some key stakeholders in the Delta state had sought for the effective utilization of the funds and called on the Federal Government to ensure proper supervision on how the states would use the first tranche of the Paris club refund, an aide to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had argued that the Federal government is not supposed to dictate for the the States how to spend the money, hence the state is bound to define its priorities and apply these funds in line with its own priorities.
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Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka