Governors reject conditions for budget loan repayment

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By Amina Yahaya

The Governors of the 36 States, Tuesday, rejected the conditions given by the Federal Government for the repayment of budget support loan.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the National Economic Council meeting, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The Minister said that the governors did not only oppose the initial N252m monthly repayment plan for 20 years which was deducted in September and October, but also kicked against the new suggestion of N162m for 30 years.

She said that the Federal Government would continue to engage the governors.

She said: “The budget support facility was initially for twenty years repayment period. And when we made the first deduction in September, the States had complained that the amount deducted, which was N252m, was too harsh”.

“So, since then, the Central Bank of Nigeria has revised the condition to make the repayment period longer. And so the new repayment period is thirty years. And this means that the States will be paying monthly N162m. But again today, the States still were not satisfied with the condition”.

The Minister, who spoke on budget estimate for the Federation Account Allocation Committee and other related activities for 2019, said that a memorandum seeking the approval of N775, 060, 080.00 budget estimates was presented to NEC.

The Finance Minister said that she had not received any strike notice from the Academic Staff Union of Universities to protest against inclusion in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, stressing that she would only implement the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari on the initiative.

Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, who spoke on the diversion of petrol, round tripping, and smuggling, said NEC received a presentation from the NNPC on efforts to tackle the issue. He said the presentation showed that smuggling of PMS and fuel theft constituted illicit trade on petroleum product and presented significant threat to local/regional economy, national security and stability.

The Governor said the report therefore suggested that the Federal Government should constitute a taskforce as an interim measure to curb the economic and security impact of the menace.

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