FG’s bailout funds to state hit N1.7trn

From Fred Itua, Abuja

Bailout funds given to the 36 states of the Federation to cushion the effects of recession, have hit N1.75 trillion. The funds approved by President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government, didn’t get the nod of the National Assembly, as required by the Constitution.

Making the revelation, a former senator, Dino Melaye during a press conference, wondered why President Buhari has not queried how state Governors have expended the funds since the first tranche was given to them

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He said: “A total sum of N1.75tn has been given to States in Nigeria as extra-statutory allocation known as bailout since the advent of President Buhari’s administration, unfortunately, nothing or little is known about how the funds had been spent.

“The Federal Government on its part is neither concern nor has it asked  the right questions on how the previous facilities already granted were spent but regrettably, seem to be very happy and quick to grant another facility upon a simply request by the State Governments for further support to repay the previous facilities due for repayment.”

The Executive Director of Anti-Corruption Network, asked why the Federal Government is planning to approve fresh N656.112 billion Bridge Financing Facility to the 36 States.

“Each State is to receive the sum of N18.2bn from the facility which according to the report will help the States afford the repayment of previous bailout facilities namely the Salary Bailout, Excess Crude facility and Budget Support facility guaranteed to them by the Federal Government,” he said.

Melaye added that “with the entire lackadaisical attitude displayed by the Federal Government in monitoring the proper use of the previous facilities and the reason given for the approval of this current N656.112billion, one is tempted to ask if it be that the Federal Government is benefitting from all these bailout funds? Is the Federal Government laundering money through the grant of these facilities? The Anti-Corruption Networks calls for answers and clarification of these questions.

“On the other hand, with such amount of money given to the States running into trillions of naira, Nigerians should had reasonably expected a remarkable transformation of the States within a shortest possible time, in terms of road network, bridges and flyovers, free medical care, students’ scholarship, sustainable empowerment programs, jobs creation, revamping of civil service and provision of security throughout the States but sadly, the reverse is the case in Nigeria.

“Even payment of salaries should have been a thing of the pass in all these States but some States still owe their workers more than 4 months’ salary, some owe up to 6 months salary despite the salary bailout fund that was granted. The Anti- Corruption Network then asks, what happened to the Salary Bailout, Excess Crude facility and Budget Support facility that were granted to the States?”

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