THE 36 state governors cried out on Thursday, July 23, that they were yet to receive the bailout promised by President Muahmmadu Buhari. The governors who had an all-night meeting from Wednesday to early Thursday, in Abuja, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, said the worsening economic situation was affecting them badly. The NGF complained that the comprehensive relief package designed by the federal government to salvage the economic crisis of the states was yet to get to them.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State and chairman of the NGF, said that the federal government had not bailed out any state under the bailout arrangement as publicised. Yari said what the state got so far was the monthly allocation from the Federation Accounts, Allocation Committee, FAAC and the dividends from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG.
He said: “This is also to inform our friends in the media that the federal government has not given any bailout to any of the states. What had been shared the last time were monies from the NLNG and FAAC. As we have been saying, rather than look out for bailout, we have been looking for all monies that are in the coffers of the federation to be brought together for the purpose of sharing.
“The CBN governor raised some issues that taking the monies from those accounts, most especially as our reserves are going down, will affect the exchange rate and as well put pressure on the naira. So, they decided to make the naira available or its equivalent so that these can be taken as loan for some of the states that are complaining about payment of salaries.
“The Federal Government has, however, not given out any bailout yet. But we have been deliberating on how best the intervention will be done quickly so that we will be able to settle the issue of salaries and other operations of government in the country.”
The governors also expressed concern over the exchange rate of the dollar to the naira as well as other foreign currencies which has affected the nation’s economy. They have, therefore, resolved to meet the president again over the issue.
Last month, President Buhari approved a $2.1 billion intervention package from the NLNG funds to help bankrupt states pay salaries. Twelve of the 36 states of the federation were reported to be owing their workers up to seven months in unpaid salaries and allowances.
— Aug 3, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT