By Joseph INOKOTONG
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun has said the Federal Government consistently complied with all extant rules and regulations in the disbursement of Paris Club refunds to State Governments.
Adeosun also reaffirmed the commitment of the federal government to publish all relevant information on the Paris Club refunds.
A statement issued by Media Adviser to Adeosun, Festus Akanbi quoted the minister as saying that that the “Federal Government’s disbursement process is transparent and targeted at the attainment of specific economic objectives noting that “the inability of some sub-national governments to meet salary and other obligations was considered inconsonant with the Federal Government’s economic stimulus programme. Claims with regard to over deductions had been made to the Federal Government, consistently since 2005”.
The Minister added: “The Debt Management Office (DMO) initially requested for a period of 22 months to complete the reconciliation and facilitate disbursement.
“However, President Muhammadu Buhari, considering the plight of salary earners and pensioners and the need to stimulate the economy, directed that the exercise be completed within 12 months.
“In addition, Mr. President gave an express Anticipatory Approval for the release of up to 50% of the claim of each state, pending final reconciliation. That reconciliation is undertaken by the DMO, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) and the relevant State Governments. Accordingly, the disbursements are staggered in batches and payments are only made when the claims of each state have been reconciled with the facts at the disposal of the Federal Government,” the statement said.
It added that “The release of the first tranche, representing up to 25% of claims, being N522.7Bn commenced in December 2016. Disbursement was subject to an agreement by State Governments that 50% of any amount received would be earmarked for the payment of salaries and pensions.
“In addition, each Governor gave an undertaking that excess payments would be recovered from the Federal Accounts Allocation (FAAC), if the final reconciliation found that the amount paid under the Anticipatory Approval exceeded that due”.