How four South-South states got highest share of N516bn Paris Club refunds

How four South-South states got highest share of N516bn Paris Club refunds
June 09 23:14 2017

Facts have emerged as to how the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory shared the first tranche of 516.38 billion naira reimbursement from the Paris Club debt refund.

According to the details of the payments released by the Federal Government on Friday, Rivers state (N34.92 billion) got the highest amount followed by Delta (N27.6 billion), Akwa Ibom (N25.98 billion) and Bayelsa (N24.89 billion).

Further analysis of the payment details showed that these four states including Kano (Kano N21.7 billion) got a total sum of N135.09bn representing 26.1 per cent of the entire amount refunded by the Federal Government to all the states.

This was followed by Lagos N16.74bn, Katsina N16.4bn, Kaduna N15.44bn, Borno N14.68bn, Jigawa N14.2bn, Imo N14.01bn, Niger N14.42bn, Bauchi N13.75bn, Sokoto N12.88bn and Osun N12.62bn.

Others are Cross River N12.15bn, Anambra N12.24bn, Edo N12.18bn, Kebbi N11.95bn, Kogi N11.05bn,Abia N11.43bn, Ogun N11.47bn, Plateau N11.28bn.

Other states like Yobe got N10.82bn, Zamfara N10.88bn, Ebonyi N9.01bn, Ekiti N9.54bn, Enugu N10.7bn, Gombe N8.95bn, Nasarawa N9.1bn, Oyo N13.31bn and Kwara got N10.24bn.

The rest are Adamawa N10.25bn, Benue N13.7bn, Ondo N14.01bn, Taraba N9.32bn and Federal Capital Territory N1.36bn.

According to the the Director of Information in the finance ministry, Salisu Dambatta, the payments were made after the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari on November 21 2016.

This is in partial settlement of long standing claims by state governments relating to over-deductions  from their Federation Account Allocation Committee allocation for external debt service arising between 1995 and 2002.

These debt service deductions are in respect of the Paris Club, London Club and Multilateral debts of the Federal government and states.

While Nigeria reached a final agreement for debt relief with the Paris Club in October 2005, some states according to the statement had already been overcharged.

“The funds were released to state government as part of the wider efforts to stimulate the economy and were specifically designed to support states in meeting salary and other obligations, thereby alleviating the challenges faced by workers.

“The releases were conditional upon a minimum of 50 per cent being applied to the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions. The Federal Ministry of Finance is reviewing the impact of these releases on the level of arrears owed by state governments.

“A detailed report is being compiled for presentation to the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as part of the process for approval for the release of any subsequent tranches,’ the statement read in part.