Ahead of the Federal Government’s plan to begin deduction of the N614 billion bailout funds it gave to states for payment of salaries of workers in 2016, Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Wednesday said it would repay any borrowed funds but would also ensure reconciliation of accounts as far money borrowed by states is concerned.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, recently disclosed that the deduction would commence in the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) provision for states in September.
But, arising from it monthly meeting on Wednesday, the governors reiterated they are ready to pay but will subject the transactions to careful reconciliation.
Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting, the NGF Chairman Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state said.
“If you borrow, you pay. We are never averse to payment of loans that we took under legal environment and we don’t want a situation that will put our financial and banking system into Jeopardy.
“However, governors believe that we are ready to pay, we also have a duty to ensure reconciliation of account as far as the money owed to states may be concerned and that is the process that is ongoing.
It is a storm in a teacup when we read about governors refusing to pay. We don’t have such an issue, we are ready to pay”.
The Chairman further stated that the forum condemned the unlawful invasions of the some governors’ residences, in direct violation of the immunity of the Governors.
“We the members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today at the NGF Secretariat Abuja,
deliberated on several issues and resolved as follows:
“The Forum was briefed by the chairman Governor Kayode Fayemi Governor of Ekiti State on the meeting between the Forum and the President first, and later the Inspector General of Police on the unlawful invasion of some governors’ residences, in direct violation of the immunity of the Governors.
“The Forum was briefed by the chairman on the meeting between the Forum and The Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), the governors’ pledged to continue to collaborate with a journalist, especially around the issues of security particularly when they work in hostile environments.
“The Forum received a briefing on the status of the world bank assisted State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Program for results (SFTAS), the team from the World Bank assured the Forum that all assessments now inply that States have improved in transparency ratings over the last quarter.
“The Forum also received, in session, the new Country Director of the World Bank, Shubham Chaudhuri whose tour of duty commences on 1st October 2019. He replaces Ben Masoud after his four (4) year tenure in Nigeria.
“The Forum received a presentation from Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) advising that the country should expect above-average rainfall which has already resulted in severe flooding in several States.
“The Forum listened to a presentation by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), which highlighted the issues around inadequate transmission and sought governors’ commitment to improve the power situation in the country. The Forum resolved to partner TCN to improve power supply nationwide” he added.