Davidson Iriekpen in Lagos and Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja


• Edo Govt: It’s a weak attempt to whip up sentiments
The recent spate of allegations against the immediate past Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, by the Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole may not be unconnected to the refusal by the former to grant loan requests by the governor to pursue financial obligations, which the then minister considered inimical to the interest of Edo State, it has been revealed.Ngozi-okonjo-Iweala
Documents unearthed by THISDAY from sources in the Debt Management Office (DMO) showed that the Edo State governor had in a letter dated December 9, 2014 requested a “No Objection” for facilities totalling N15.37 billion, which were turned down by DMO and the minister.
A breakdown of the loans showed that the Edo State Government asked for a “No Objection” for a N13.2 billion term loan from Ecobank Plc to enable the state government meet its payment obligations to contractors; a N1.03 billion term loan from Fidelity Bank Plc to meet the Edo government’s State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) 50 per cent counterpart funding obligations; and yet another N1.14 billion term loan from Ecobank Plc to meet the state’s 50 per cent counterpart funding obligations to SUBEB. Read More →

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In 2014, the pangs of falling oil prices began to take its toll on states even though the Federal Government continued public spending with almost the same gusto as the pre-oil price fall period. However, it took some measures believed to be in response to the nation’s dwindling fortune, but this was seen more as mere intentions which the government didn’t intend to implement since the government and its official refused to change their lifestyle.Meanwhile, conditions in states had deteriorated so much in some states that they could not render even the simplest services. This was the situation when Muhammadu Buhari became president. In the weeks after, the economic morass in states had deepened, and it became necessary for the president to intervene fast.Cartoons

Therefore, at the beginning of the week President Muhammadu Buhari approved the sum of N804.7 billion to assist states who have been unable to pay salaries to do so. The amount is meant to also cover sharing of fresh allocations, granting of soft loans and restructuring of states’ debt-servicing payments.

About $2.1b (N413.7b) will be shared in fresh allocation between the states and the federal government. The money is sourced from recent Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) proceeds to the federation account.

A Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-packaged special intervention fund that will offer financing to the states, ranging from between N250b and N300b. This would be a soft loan that states could access to pay the backlog of salaries.

The bailout funds may be disbursed in the next few days, according to reports.

Implementing a debt relief programme proposed by the Debt Management Office, DMO, will help states restructure their commercial loans currently put at more than N660b, and extend the life span of such loans while reducing their debt-servicing expenditures.

Also, a total of N391 billion from the Excess Crude Account, ECA, will be shared among the three tiers of government, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, disclosed.

With the N413.7 billion LNG proceeds it means the three tiers of government will share a total of N804.7 billion. Read More →

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Raymond Omachi, the acting chairman of Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has stated that the past administration led by Goodluck Jonathan and its Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala mismanaged funds in the Excess Crude Account (ECA).Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala

Although Omachi did not mention names, he frowned at the practice of the federal government to pay subsidy from the ECA or to share to states from the ECA when available funds are not adequate to meet revenue projections.

He said that the ECA was established in 2004 to protect planned budget against shortfalls due to volatile crude oil prices, but that was not how the funds from the account were spent today.

“If the ECA had been properly managed, in accordance with the FRC act, the country will not have been embroiled in the liquidity crisis being presently experienced,” he said on Sunday in Abuja during an interactive session with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). Read More →

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Chuks Okocha and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

• APC governors reiterate call for FG’s intervention, to wade into N’Assembly crisisAbdulaziz-Yari
Governors of the 36 states of the federation will meet today to consider proposals for a possible bailout for states with financial difficulties, especially those unable to pay workers’ salaries.
Also, the governors are expected to discuss their dwindling monthly allocations from the Federation Account and the status of the Excess Crude Account (ECA). Read More →

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Chuks Okocha, Francis Ndubuisi in Abuja and Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

• NGF: Please explain, Finance Minister: You have spent it
• Zamfara governor now NGF chair
There is probably no better way of summing up the eventual reconciliation of the factionalised Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) than to say all is well that ends well.Ngozi-Okonjo-Iweala
After almost two years of deep crisis, the 36 governors of the federation in the early hours of yesterday put their partisan differences aside and asked the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to account for the $20 billion oil revenue the nation earned. Read More →

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