N614bn bailout: Govs give condition for loan repayment

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Governors have demanded an audit of the N614 billion bailout funds from the Federal Government as a condition for the repayment of the loan.

Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Kayode Fayemi, said in Abuja on Wednesday night that it was important that an audit and reconciliation of accounts on the bailout fund is carried out between federal and state governments as a pre-condition for repayment.

Reading a communiqué issued after the over three-hour meeting between the governors and Federal Government’s finance team, he said: “Governors have never been averse to payment of loans, and we don’t want a situation that our banking and financial system will be in jeopardy. However, just as we are ready to pay, we also have a duty to ensure reconciliation of account on money owed to states; that is the process that is ongoing,” he said.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, at the Public Consultation Forum on the draft 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework in Abuja on September 10, said the deductions will begin in two weeks, which means as from September 27.

Ahmed explained that federal government gave the support facility through Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2017 to enable states meet their financial obligations to civil servants and pensioners. She said, the money was provided at a nine per cent interest rate, with a grace repayment period of two years.

Ahmed, said the bailout repayment will be taken from the affected states’ allocation during the next Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting by end of September.

She said because the funds came from CBN, the loans when deducted from the FAAC allocations of the states, would be remitted to CBN.

Fayemi also pledged the readiness of governors to work with federal government to resolve issues of insecurity in the country.

He said governors had received warnings from Nigeria Meteorological Agency against heavy rainfall that could result in severe flooding in several states.

He said the governors forum also got a request from the Transmission Company of Nigeria, highlighting issues around inadequate transmission facilities and seeking assistance from governors to address power supply crisis in the country.

Those in attendance were Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Seriake Dickson (Bayela), Abubakar Badaru, (Jigawa), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Emeka Ihedioha (Imo), Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Aminu Masari (Katsina), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) and Bello Matawalle (Zamfara). Deputy governors in attendance were Nasarawa and Kaduna.