ABUJA, OCTOBER 18, 2017 – The Nigeria governors forum, have demanded the release of the 50 per cent balance of the Paris Club refund, for inclusion in their 2018 budget appropriations.
The governors of the 36 states led by their chairman, Zamfara state governor Abdullaziz Yari, met with President Muhammadu Buhari, in a two-hour closed-door meeting on Tuesday, at the state house, Abuja.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the meeting, Governor Yari said they asked the President to effect the disbursement from next month, to enable them use the money to execute projects and undertake other recurrent expenditure, subject to approvals by the houses of assemblies.
Yari said: “We are here on behalf of the 36 state governors and this is as 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 by giving us several supports ranging from bail outs, restructuring of our debts to the London- Paris Club exit payment.
“We also told him that we think that it was his firm decision that made Nigeria exited recession.” He continued: “As a father, we said to him to remember that in 2016, we presented the numbers of London and Paris exit funds which we agreed, and he directed that we should be paid 50 per cent and 50 per cent open reconciliation.
“Reconciliation is on since 2016, we are hoping that both the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ministry of finance, AGF and our consultants are concluding this reconciliation by November.
“So, we want to crave your indulgence that we factor in the numbers into our 2018 budgets so that we can use it for projects and other recurrent spending according to the specification given by our respective House of Assembly and that is why we are here.”
It will be recalled that the Presidency disbursed N760.17 billion in two batches on May 4 2017 in partial settlement of long standing claims, relating to over-deduction from state allocations from the Federation Account, for the purpose of external debt servicing between 1995 and 2002.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has urged the Federal Government not to release the third and final tranche of the largesse to the governors.
The Labour union in a statement, said the money should only be released if the governors make a commitment to settle all outstanding salaries, allowances and pensions of workers and retirees with the fund.