Zainab Ahmed: States To Start Repayment Of Budget Support Loan From July


Repayment of $2.1 billion Budget Support Facility granted to states by the Federal Government will begin this month, it was announced at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting on Thursday.

The Federal Government through the Central bank of Nigerian (CBN) in July 2015 made available the facility when many states were unable to pay salaries and wages to their workers.

Only Lagos State did not obtain the facility.

States have been lobbying for deferment of payment until when Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki accused the apex bank of printing naira to shore up shortfall.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele who denied Obaseki’s claim, said it was time for states to start repayment of the facility.

The states lobbied again to extend the time while Emefiele insisted. This led to the issue being referred to NEC for intervention.

On Thursday at its 118th meeting, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said an agreement had been reached to start the deduction from the end of this month.

She said the CBN will however provide a bridge financing facility to states.

Spokesman for the office of the Vice President Laolu Akande in a statement after the meeting presided over by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said the meeting received briefing on the state of COVID-19.

He quoted Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as saying that, with the emergence of the Delta variant in Lagos State, there has been an increase in monitoring activities at entry points across the country.

“The committee noted that governors will continue to monitor the situation for the next one week to see if there will be need for an emergency Ad-hoc committee meeting on the situation”, it said

Ahead of next week’s Edi Kabir festivities, NEC has urged strict adherence to COVID-19 response guidelines across the country, after receiving state performance report from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Akande said: “The council received the state performance report on COVID-19 from Director-General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, who noted that the Delta variant is a new variant identified in 103 countries and is 60% more transmissible than the highly infectious Alpha variant which was previously identified.

“The DG said despite the low number of cases in the country, the positivity rate has gone up and Lagos State has a larger burden of 70%-80% cases in the country, having recorded an increase in the number of cases in the last 10 weeks.”

Regarding panels of inquiries in the states on EndSARS protests, Vice President Osinbajo noted that a number of states had submitted their reports and more reports are being awaited.

He encouraged state governments to turn in the reports while noting that the panels are still sitting in some States.

“According to the VP, the Council will have a full consideration on the reports from the states, make a compilation of the reports and review the implementation options.

“So far, reports have been received from Ekiti, Enugu, and Nasarawa while more reports are being awaited.

“Prof Osinbajo also encouraged the States that haven’t completed the panel’s work to send in interim reports” the statement said.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, gave the Council an update on the statuses of Federation Accounts.

“Excess Crude Account, as at July 13, 2021, stood at $60,852,533.19; Stabilisation Account stood at N26,346,419,015.43; while Development of Natural Resources Account stood at N23,573,977,607.78”, the statement said.

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