$1.5bn loan: Osinbajo seeks NASS’ approval for 10 states

$1.5bn loan: Osinbajo seeks NASS’ approval for 10 states

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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday sought the approval of the National Assembly (NASS) for $1.5 billion loan for 10 states. The loan is part of the 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.

The states are Kastina,  Ebonyi,  Jigawa,  Kano,  Enugu,  Plateau,  Ondo,  Kaduna,  Ogun and Abia.

In a letter to the House of Representatives,  which was read at plenary yesterday by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the acting president urged the legislature to separate the states projects from the items listed in borrowing plan, so as to give them accelerated consideration.

“You may wish to know that the request for the separation of the state’s projects from the list became imperative in view of the current economic realities in the country and the pressing needs of these states to provide infrastructure and social amenities for their citizens.

“The total loans for the states being presented for special consideration and approval is $1,492,400,000.00 as listed in paragraph one above.”

A breakdown of the loan request indicates that Kaduna and Ogun are seeking $350 million each from the World Bank, while Ebonyi and Abia are seeking $70 million and $100 million, respectively, from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).

Also, Katsina is seeking $110 million, Jigawa, $32.4 million, Ebonyi, $80 million and Kano, $200 million, all from the Islamic Development Bank.

Enugu, Kano, Plateau and Ondo are seeking a total of N200 million from French Development Agency.

Meanwhile, 20 states are owing workers and pensioners salaries and entitlements ranging from one to 36 months, a BudgIT nationwide survey has shown.

BudgIT, in a statement yesterday, said the survey focused on the “frequency of salary payment of six different categories of workers in all 36 states, namely: primary school teachers, secondary school teachers, local government workers, state independent workers, pensioners and state secretariat workers.”

It said the survey showed many states defaulted in the payments of pensions and gratuities, with Imo, Taraba and Niger states owing pensioners two to three years in entitlements.

It added that Kogi, Abia, Benue, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo states have not paid their workers’ salaries in 2017, owing, at least, four months’ salary.

The survey, however, gave Lagos and Rivers a clean slate and noted that the states have been consistent in the payment of workers’ remuneration and pensioners’ entitlements.

The statement said: “From the survey carried out, we discovered that apart from the fact that 16 states which are yet to pay the pensions of former civil servants in their service, eight of these states have not paid their pensioners, at least, 12 months’ pensions, while states like Imo, Taraba and Niger owe pensions of about two to three years. Notably, these pensioners expressed how unhappy they are, their dissatisfaction with the government and how hard it has been for them to survive.

“In addition to outstanding pensions, we note, from our survey, that across all categories, states like Kogi, Abia, Benue, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo have not paid, at least, four months of workers’ salaries this year. However, the likes of Lagos and Rivers have been consistently impressive with their up-to-date and full payment of civil servants’ remunerations.

“We are also aware that due to the recent economic downturn, FAAC allocations to states and internally generated revenue have reduced drastically making states unable to pay their staff salaries and run administration effectively. State governors have recently canvassed that the Federal Government provides another tranche of Paris Club refund to offset salaries and other liabilities. We, hereby, ask the federal government to tighten its accountability structures for the series of extra-statutory funds that are provided to state governments, which currently has reached N1.75 trillion. We also demand state governments to do more in the transparent use of the funds. It is pertinent that only seven out of 36 states, namely Bauchi, Kogi, Kano, Kaduna, Edo, Gombe and Yobe, have provided their full 2017 budgets to the public.”

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