A special committee of the Nigeria Governors Forum paid a thank you visit to His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa earlier today. The Committee was led by the Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Zamfara State, His Excellency Alh. Abdulaziz Yari and 8 other governors including His Excellency, Governor M.A. Abubakar of Bauchi State.
The Governors thanked Mr President for taking Nigeria out of its first recession in 25 years. According to Gov. Abubakar, some of the key factors that helped in moving the country out of recession were the excellent economic palliative measures introduced by the President.
The Governors also thanked the President for providing bailout funds which helped the states to offset backlog of salaries inherited from past administrations. Recall that the Federal Govt. has given N1.75tn to states as extra-statutory allocation known as bailout since the advent of President Buhari’s administration.
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum Mr Abdulaziz Yari used the opportunity to explain to the President how the states used the bailout funds, maintaining that the states spent the money judiciously.
The Governors specially commended Mr President’s efforts in refunding the Paris Club funds to states, which is the first time any government decided to make the refunds. The Paris Club refund is as a result of over-deductions made by the administration of former President Obasanjo from federation accounts to offset Paris Club, London Club Loans and Multilateral debts on the accounts of States and Local Governments between 1995 and 2002.
So far a total of 50% of the refund claimed by the states have been paid. The latest payment is the second tranche of the refunds to the states.
A total of N243.8 billion was released to the 36 states and Abuja in the second tranche.
During the regime of former President Obasanjo, it was somewhat illegal to even raise the issue of the refund. The governors appealed to the President to come out with a timetable for the repayment of the remaining 50% after reconciliation have been done between the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO) so that states can include the monies in their 2018 budget.