The federal government on Tuesday revealed that it has so far disbursed a total of N2.231 trilion to 35 state governments from 2016 to date as palliative measures to enable them pay workers’ salaries.
Minister of Finance Mrs Zainab Ahmed disclosed this at a workshop organized by the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) on process of revenue generation, accounting and reporting to Federation Acccount Allocation Committee (FAAC) in Abuja.
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.
“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”, Ahmed said.
Under the restructuring of commercial loans intervention to benefit the states, the finance ministry which 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.”
Regarding 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.”
On 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), 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 into 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.
While delivering his goodwill message, representative of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) at the workshop, Mr. Adewale Johnson, disclosed that the agency recovered $200 million from legacy debt issues and generated N1.3trillion in 2018.