FG shells out N2.2tr to states govts as palliatives

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…NASU shuts down Ibadan Polytechnic over unpaid salary arrears***

The federal government has revealed that it has so far disbursed a total of N 2.231 trillion to 35 state governments from 2016 to date as palliatives measures to support States to pay salaries and continue with the functions of governance.

Minister of Finance Mrs Zainab Ahmed made this revelation at a workshop organized by the Account General of the Federation (AGF) on process of revenue generation, accounting and reporting to Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) in Abuja on Tuesday.

Zainab Ahmed who was represented by Dr Mohammed K. Dikwa gave the breakdown of this huge financial intervention to states to save them from collapse.

According to Ahmed, “President Muhammadu Buhari approved in the early 2016 that states with outstanding salary payment should access N10 billion each for bailout and the nominal value of their ECA balance. Today ‘our record shows that thirty five states (35) benefited from this gesture.”

Under the restructuring of commercial loans intervention to benefit the states, the finance ministry who did not state the value of this intervention disclosed that “the president directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to liaise with commercial banks with the view of restructuring states’ overdrafts and other short-term loans granted to enable states meet their short term needs. That was done and had greatly enhanced states’ liquidity.”

Zainab Ahmed further revealed that “in the year 2016, the Federal Government introduced the budget support program for states under which a special purpose funding (SPF) was incorporated. This was aimed at raising capital to finance the funding requirements of the states by investing in Bonds or Notes issued by them as a budget financing facility. A total of thirty five (35) states participated in the program, while the actual releases commenced in June 2016. The sum of N1.39 billion was disbursed by the CBN to each of the 35 participating state government for the first three months. Subsequently, the sum of N1.111 billion was released to each state monthly for the remaining nine (9) months which ended in May 2017.”

With regards to the repayment of Paris Club over deductions, the finance minister said “the administration of President Buhari that took the bull by the horn and agreed to source for fund to pay the liabilities. This has been accomplished in three tranches of N492.505 billion, N243.795 billion, and N649.434billion respectively.”

Defending these interventions, Zainab Ahmed said that “the injection of the colossal amount of money no doubt supported our exciting recession; put the country to path of growth and enabled states met their obligations.”

Speaking to the purpose of the workshop, the finance minister noted that revenue reporting template had been an issue for quite sometimes and she called on the revenue generating agencies to double their efforts toward surpassing their previous record and meeting their targets.

She urged “All revenue generating agencies to ensure accountability and transparency in the collection and remittances to the federation account.”

She however advised the AGF and the various agencies, to “as much as possible lower the time-lag between collection and remittance into federation account. The reporting template should be explicit enough and user friendly too.”

In his address, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) of the Federtaion Mr. Idris Ahmed said President Buhari has approved a new performance management framework for Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) with the objective of boosting revenue generation and remittances inyo government treasury.

As a first step some directors of revenue will be deployed to at least 10 revenue generating agencies with clearly spelt out revenue targets and job descriptions.

Representing the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) at the workshop, Mr. Adewale Johnson while delivering his goodwill message disclosed that the agency recovered $200 million from legacy debt issues and generated N1.3trillion in 2018.

In the meantime, the Non-Academic Staff Union of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, on Tuesday embarked on a peaceful protest  over unpaid salary arrears.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the protest disrupted both academic and administrative activities on the institution’s campus as the entrance gates  were locked.

A NAN correspondent,  who monitored the development,  also reports that there was traffic snarl in front of the institution on the Sango – Eleyele road as  workers, students and visitors were  locked out by the striking union.

The Chairman of the union, Ibrahim Akande, said NASU had embarked on indefinite industrial action since Jan. 14 and had  yet to receive the attention of the school’s  management and the government.

“We are agitating for eight months salary arrears owed us by the government since 2017.

“We have held series of meeting with the management and Oyo State Government all to no avail.

“So we are agitating for our right; we have shut down the institution because there is nothing we can do than to go on strike.

“We are staging a peaceful protest and there will be a press conference at the NLC secretariat today(Tuesday),” Akande said.

Additional report from The Nation