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Amidst calls for probe, FG releases fresh budget support loans to 35 states for salaries

FG promises to end recession by Dec, outlines 3-yr economic plan

Amidst widespread calls for probe of earlier support fund releases to states primarily for payment of salaries to workers, the Federal Government said Thursday that it had approved a fresh budget support loan facility for 35 states across the country.

Each of the states will get N800m, totalling N28bn to meet their salaries and other obligations.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, disclosed this to State House Correspondents on Thursday at the end of a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Udoma stated that the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and the Central Bank Governor (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, had been directed to make payments.

Read also: Forensic report shows NNPC, others under remitted revenues to Federation Account

Udoma said the Accountant General of the Federation reported to Council that approval had been received and CBN had been directed to pay N800 million to each of the 35 states of the Federation.

Lagos was the only state not taking the loan.

The minister said, “The Accountant General reported to the council that approval has been received and CBN has been directed to pay N800m to each of the 35 states of the federation.

“Governors expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for the restoration of the Budget Support Loan Facility for July and August 2017.”

Adeosun also informed the council that the country recorded the highest amount of Value Added Tax in October with over N89bn.

She added that the target was N120bn monthly.

On the government’s monthly assets declaration scheme, Adeosun said there was progress and the list of 500 Nigerians who were believed to have under-declared their assets had been obtained.

The scheme will offer amnesty to all tax defaulters.

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure was also said to have briefed the council about a homegrown proposal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the replacement of the card readers in the conduct of elections in the country.

The proposal is a made-in-Nigeria “Solar-Powered Electronic Voting System” to improve current electronicchallenges.

The same proposal which has already been presented to INEC is also expected to be presented to the National Assembly.

The balance in the Excess Crude Account as of November 17 was put at $2,309,693,583.35, while the Stabilisation Fund Account was put at N6,689,072,836.11.

The balance in the Natural Resources Development Fund stood at N100,314,169, 190.23 as of November 17, 2017.

The council also discussed the audit of revenue generating agencies.

The NEC was informed that some of the agencies granted some “questionable loans.”

Out of the 18 agencies that were audited, the committee had completed work on 13 agencies; work is still ongoing in two while three are not revenue-generating.

The 13 agencies where work had been completed include, NIMASA, NNPC, NPA, FIRS, NPDC and DPR.

The two outstanding are Nigeria Customs Service and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Osinbajo, however, directed the committee to conclude its report under four weeks and report back to council at the next meeting.

Udoma also briefed the council on the growth being experienced in the economy.

He said, “Signs of recovery had been observed since Q3 2016 and the recovery consolidated in Q3 2017 with GDP doubling to 1.40 per cent Non-oil GDP contracts in Q3 2017 by 0.76 per cent after growing in Q1 R Q2 2017.

“While the Services sector is still in the negative, the Manufacturing Sector grows negative in Q3 2017 also.

“Due to high inflationary pressures Household consumption expenditures remain constrained, though it appears such pressure is easing. Headline inflation has declined since January reflecting tight monetary policy. Food price increases have remained persistent but slowing down.

“The total value of capital importation at the end 2017 of Q3 stood at $4.14bn (131.3 per cent growth year on year).”

 

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