BY MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja
Details of cash distribution from the second tranche of Paris Club refund has shown that Kano, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Delta and Rivers States got the highest share of N10 billion each from the latest disbursement of the fund.
The money is a combination of over-deductions from Paris Club, London Club loans and multilateral debts on the accounts of states and local governments from 1995 to 2002.
The total sum of N243.8 billion was distributed tothe 36 states of the federation and the federal capital territory upon approval by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on May 4, 2017.
The refund is in partial settlement of long-standing claims by state governments relating to over-deductions from their Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocation for external debt service arising between 1995 and 2002.
Our correspondent reports that a statement from the ministry of finance indicated that Lagos and Kastina States got the closest share of the refund, with N8.4 and N8.2 billion respectively, while Borno, Jigawa, Kaduna, Borno, Imo, Niger, Ondo and Oyo States got N7 billion each.
The statement further gave details of the latest disbursement as follows: Adamawa, N6bn; Anambra, N6.1bn; Cross Rivers, N6bn; Bauchi, N6.8bn; Benue, N6.8bn and Edo, N6bn.
Others are Kogi, N6bn; Abia, N5.7bn; Enugu, N5.3bn; Kebbi, N5.9bn; Osun N6.3bn; Sokoto, N6.4bn; Kwara, N5.1bn; Ogun, N5.7bn; Plateau, N5.6bn; Taraba, N5.6bn; Yobe and Zamfara states got N5.4bn each.
According to the details, Ebonyi got N4.5bn; Ekiti, N4.7bn; Gombe, N4.4bn and Nassarawa, N4.5bn. FCT got the least of the refund with N684, 867,500.04.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, explained that these debt service deductions were in respect of the Paris Club, London Club and Multilateral debts of the federal government and states.
While Nigeria reached a final agreement for debt relief with the Paris Club in October 2005, some states had already been overcharged.
The funds were released to state governments as part of wider efforts to stimulate the economy, even as they were specifically designed to support states in meeting salary and other obligations, thereby alleviating the challenges faced by workers.
The releases were conditional upon a minimum of 75 per cent being applied to the payment of workers’ salaries and pensions for states that owe salaries and pension.
The federal ministry of Finance is reviewing the impact of these releases on the level of arrears owed by state governments.
A detailed report is being compiled for presentation to the president as part of the process for approval for the release of any subsequent tranches.