Attempts by some states in the federation to hide the exact amounts they received as refunds on over-deduction on London-Paris Club loans may have been thwarted.
A report published by The Nation newspaper on Saturday claimed that some governors had begged the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, not to make public the refunds made to the States.
The publication, however, asserts that it had all the details of what transpired between the States and the Federal Government, including bank transactions.
Of the N388.304 billion released so far by the Federal Government, the report stated that some governors may have fed their states with wrong figures of the sums given to them.
A document in possession of the newspaper indicated that all the 35 states were credited with their shares of the N388.304 billion as at December 27, 2016.
The Nation reports: Our correspondent obtained the names of the bank, the account and the account numbers where each state’s share was remitted.
Only Kano State and the FCT have so far not benefitted from the reimbursements.
According to the list, Kwara State got two types of refund totaling more than N9.188 billion.
Kwara’s shares include N5,415,167,236.97 refund to the state government and N3,773,082,953.54 for its 16 local government areas.
Findings also confirmed that Ondo was only paid 50 per cent of its refunds (N6,513,392,932.28) because of leadership change in the state, which will soon lead to the inauguration of Chief Rotimi Akeredolu as the new governor.
A breakdown of the list of top beneficiaries of the refunds is as follows:
Akwa Ibom, N14,500,000,000.00;
Cross River, N11,300,139,741.28;
Kogi, N11,211,573,328.19 and
The document said: “Ondo payment represents 50 per cent of the refund due to transition of leadership in the state. Further instructions are being awaited on balance payment.
“Adamawa, Kwara 22b on the list, Oyo and Taraba payments represent the portions due to the respective local governments.”
But the Presidency was uncomfortable with the attitude of some state governors to the management of the refunds.
Responding to a question, a source in government said: “It is unfortunate that some state governors under-declared the refunds made to them.
“Some of them were also discovered to be giving spurious analysis in order to cover up the actual figures.
“In fact, some states changed the agreement overnight.
“A state said the President asked states to use at least 25 per cent of their London and Paris Club refund to offset salary arrears.”
Investigation showed that about N134.44 billion out of the approved N522.74 billion will soon be paid as refunds to some states.
The top government source added: “Yes, as at December 27, 2016, all the 35 states had received the N388.3 billion refunds. The balance of N134.44 billion will soon be accessed.”
Following protests by states against over-deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002, President Muhammed Buhari had on December 2, 2016 approved the release of N522.74 billion to states as refunds pending reconciliation of records.
Each state is entitled to a cap of N14.5 billion being 25 per cent of the amounts claimed.
But the government has raised a team to scrutinise claims by states and reconcile with available records.
These developments were contained in a statement issued in Abuja by the Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Festus Akanbi.
The statement said: “The Federal Government has reached a conditional agreement to pay 25% of the amounts claimed subject to a cap of N14.5 billion to any given state. Balances due thereafter will be revisited when fiscal conditions improve.
“Mr. President’s overriding concern is for the welfare of the Nigerian people, considering the fact that many states are owing salaries and pension, causing considerable hardship.
“Therefore, to ensure compliance with the directive that a minimum of 50% of any amount disbursed is dedicated to this, funds will be credited to an auditable account from which payments to individual creditors would be made. Where possible, such payments would be made to BVN linked accounts and verified.”
But any state paid refunds in excess of its outstanding claims might suffer deduction from its monthly allocations from the Federation Account.
It said: “Due to the fact that reconciliation is still ongoing and the final outcome might show an under or overstatement of claims, an undertaken has been signed by state governors, declaring that in the event the amount already paid exceeds the verified claim, the surplus would be deducted directly from the state’s monthly FAAC allocations.
“The total amount approved by the President is N522.74 billion and is to be paid in batches. The first batch of N153.01 billion is currently being processed for release to 14 state governments.
“The release of these funds is intended to support the fiscal stimulus programme of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to provide direct stimulus through government spending. It is particularly aimed at boosting demand at consumer level and reversing the slowdown in economic activity.”
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