Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Albert OGRAKA:
Delta state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah has confirmed that the state government received the sum of Ten Billion naira (N10,000,000,000.00) from the Federal Government, as part of its share from the second tranche of Paris Club refund of over-deductions on Paris Club, London Club Loans and Multilateral debts on the accounts of States and Local Governments (1995-2002).
Ukah’s clarification on behalf of Delta state government, has however put paid to earlier claims by some government officials who erroneously claimed that the state has only received half of the funds from the Federal Government.
Meanwhile, a total of N652.229 billion has also been distributed as federal allocation for the month of June 2017 to the Federal Government, state governments and local government councils.
A communiqué issued by the sub-committee of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, at the end of the meeting held on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in Abuja, indicated that the Gross Statutory Revenue received for the month is N570.584 billion and is higher than the N317.562 billion received in the previous month by N253.022 billion.
Responding to questions during a post Executive Council (Exco) press briefing on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, Mr. Patrick Ukah said he has not heard anything contrary to what was announced by the ederal government.
“I don’t know who would have given you that information about what was received and what was not received. I know you would not act on speculations.
“On the Paris Club fund, if you go to the state website, you will get a full explanation on how the money received in the past was channeled. Please let us endeavour to go there and if you have any issue, revert back to me and I can clear with the Commissioner for Economic Planning and the Accountant General.
“When we spend, we post. Its also submitted to ICPC. So there is a procedure and those facts are not hidden.
“On the current one, I have not heard anything contrary to what was announced, which is to say that I don’t know who told you about being half or not being full. But I’m aware that in the Paris fund released, the local government has a share of that amount and we have backlog of salaries and when I mean salaries, I don’t mean the net pay. I mean backlog in terms of check-off systems, union dues and the likes and you also have substantially, Pension backlog and when you look at that and you see what the local government would be taking, then you will have an idea but I will not be able to give you the rato of sharing until the Economic Planning, Finance and Accountant General comes out with their records.
“I assure you of one thing that it will be posted on the website but I just gave you the critical areas and when you look at that, you will find out what percentage, if any, that can go to infrastructural development and what have you. I just gave you an idea. So, be patient. The past ones you can find them, this inclusive, you will also find them.”
A statement from the Federal Ministry of Finance indicates that Delta state received a total sum of N10,000,000,000.00 in the second tranche of Paris Club refund to States totalling N243. 795 billion.
Recall also that a total of N516 billion was released to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the first tranche where Delta state received a whooping sum of N14,500,000,000.
Another top government source, who confirmed the moves to reimburse states, however, said: “The second tranche will be released based on the compliance of states with Fiscal Sustainability Plan(FSP), which was endorsed by all the governors at a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) on May 19.
In the earlier tranches of the Paric Club refunds, some governors are said to have failed to disclose the actual amount given to their states while others have devoted only 10 to 25 per cent of the funds to the payment of backlog of salaries.
The Presidency has made it mandatory for all the states to account for the first tranche of the loan refunds – in line with the agreement it reached with the Nigerian Governors Fo (NGF), just as some of the 36 governors are being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) for allegedly diverting the first tranche of the refund.
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E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka