The Nigerian Governors’ Forum, an umbrella body of the 36 state governors of the Federation, on Tuesday said that they met with President Muhammadu Buhari to demand for the 50 per cent balance of Paris Club refund to enable them factor the numbers into their 2018 budgets.
The explanation was made by chairman of NGF and governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, when he spoke with State House correspondents soon after meeting with Buhari at the State House, Abuja.
He said, “We are here on behalf of the 36 state governors and this is a result of the collective decision to see the president after the National Economic Council meeting last month.
“Our mission here is simple. We are here to thank Mr. President for his concern about the state of the economy and for giving us support ranging from bailouts, restructuring our debts, London-Paris Club refunds, and others.
“We also told him that we think that it was because of these decisions that he had taken that got us out of the recession. You know that the 200 million citizens residing in Nigeria are residing in respective states.
“This support is going down to them when you take the indices from the grassroots.
“We thanked the president for that and at the same time, as a father, we said to him, ‘Mr. President, you remember that in 2016, we presented to you the numbers of London and Paris exit funds on which we agreed, and you directed that we should be paid 50 per cent and 50 per cent after reconciliation.
“But the reconciliation has been ongoing since 2016. We are hoping that both the DMO (Debt Management Office), Ministry of Finance, AGF (Accountant General of the Federation) and our consultants are concluding this reconciliation by November.
“So we asked to crave his indulgence so that we can factor the numbers into our 2018 budgets and use them for projects and other recurrent spending, in accordance with the specifications given by our respective Houses of Assembly. So that’s why we are here.
“Mr. President was prompt in his response, being that he has a representative in the National Economic Council, that is the vice-president. He said the Minister of Finance is away.
“But we are going to work with the numbers when he returns from his trip to Turkey. We are going to follow up on this meeting with him so that we can conclude on what is going to be done.”
Buhari had during the visit expressed worries over states non-payment of workers’ salaries, despite initial 50 per cent payment of London-Paris Club refund to governors and the Federal Government’s intervention effort.
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