FG Injects N713.7bn Into States As Bailout Funds

FEC
By Tosin Omoniyi

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday approved the immediate release of N713.7billion as intervention funds for states currently battling to pay workers’ salaries.

The bail-out, it was gathered, is part of a three-tiered relief package that will end the plight of workers in the state.

About N413.7billion will be given directly to states as special intervention funds while the balance of N300billion is expected to be issued as soft loans to states.

The N413.7 billion will be sourced from the recent Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG, proceeds while the balance of N300 billion is a Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, assisted special intervention fund.

As an added aid, the Debt Management Office, DMO will directly assist impoverished states to restructure over N660billion commercial loans which are stunting the growth of their respective economies.

The Federal government will equally wield its influence to guarantee the elongation of the subsequent loan repayment by the states in order to help them get back on track.

The beneficiaries of the relief package would also include workers in federal ministries, departments and Agencies, MDAs, and other relevant agencies currently affected by the cash crisis.

The measures to be put in place are also expected to put more cash in the hands of the average worker thereby reflating the depressed economy a bit.

The special adviser to the President on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, while confirming that there was indeed a relief package on the way to help out the keeling states, added that these were just a part of measures being spearheaded by the federal government to kick start the economy.

States currently battling to pay off backlog of workers’ salaries include- Osun, Ekiti, Rivers, Buachi, Oyo, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Plateau, and Benue.

Analysts estimate that the phalanx of states collectively owe their workers about N110 bn.

Officials of the finance ministry and the CBN have, however, said that the owed salaries and arrears are in the region of N250bn.

It would be recalled that at a parley between state governors and the President a few weeks ago, the former had stoutly rejected any bailout from the government.



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    Speaking on behalf of his colleagues,Zamfara State governor, Abdulazeez Yari, said instead of bailouts, the governors requested for the refund of federal government project monies they carried out in their states.

    According to him, the governors also asked that the tax paid by the Nigeria Natural Liquefied Gas Company be paid into the Federation Account shared between the federal and states governments.

    They also asked the federal government to ensure that all monies paid into the Federation Account for sharing be divided as stipulated by the Constitution.

    President Buhari had promised to look into their demands. He also subsequently set up a committee headed by his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo to look into the government coffers with a view to ascertaining what monies could be shared immediately to assist the embattled states.

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