Paris club refund: HURIWA Urges Presidency to suspend payment of N649bn final tranche to states:
The President Muhammadu Buhari has been asked not to pay immediately to the states the final refund from the Paris Club debt to the states of the Federation until after the swearing in of new administrations in those states on May 29th 2019. HURIWA said any payment made now woyld be siphoned by the outgoing governors.
Besides, HURIWA has asked the Federal Government to directly disburse the fund to civil servants and pensioners owned accumulated wages in those states like Imo, Kogi amongst others whereby the state governors reportedly misused the previous refund made to them and refused to appropriately deploy those cash for the settlement of wages of their workforce.
HURIWA recalled that the federal Government recently announced that it will soon release the sum of N649.43bn as the final refund for the Paris Club debt to state governments.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, gave the figure on Thursday in Abuja during a media briefing on the activities of her ministry.
HURIWA quoted the finance minister as maintaining that the amount had already been verified by the ministry as the outstanding balance to be refunded to the state governments.
HURIWA recalled that the outgoing minister of Finance had said, “For the final phase of the Paris Club debts refunds, the total sum of N649.434bn was verified by the ministry as the outstanding balance to be refunded to the state governments. “The payments made by the Central Bank of Nigeria as of March 2019 is N691.56bn. The increase in CBN payments partly arose from the exchange rate differential at the point of payment. Although some states still have outstanding balances, they will be refunded in due course.”
However, HURIWA through the National coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf told President Muhammadu Buhari that he runs the risk of exposing the commonwealth of these states to be stolen and looted as last minutes' bonanza at this moments of transition from one state administration to another in some of those States just as the Rights group reminded the President that he should remember that the benchmark he made for releasing previous payments from the Paris Club refund was that benefiting States must utilize the cash to pay off accumulated wage bills in their States just as HURIWA stated that many of these States through their governors misused and misapplied these fund and never paid off their workers. The Rights group maintained that going ahead with the repayment to these same governors amounts to economic sabotage.
HURIWA said:"We hope that Mr President has not reached an understanding with some of these governors to release these humongous amount of cash to some of them as parting gifts. Mr. President must know that if this is the case then posterity and history will be very unkind to him as he will enter the history of the Country as someone who failed these states by aiding and abetting the thefts of their resources by these thieving governors".
HURIWA also dismissed as mere media propaganda the claims by the outgoing Finance minister that the government prosecuted substantial percentage of the 2018 annual budgets in the area of capital expenditures just as the Rights group cstegorically challenged the minister to list out these projects for which she claimed these huge amounts were spent.
HURIWA said the entire national roads infrastructures in the South East and most parts of South South have collapsed and wondered where exactly these so called capital projects were located if not in the rich imagination of this Kaduna state born minister of Finance.
HURIWA disputed the claims by the minister that the capital expenditure was to gulp 31.5 per cent of the total expenditure at N2.87tn, while the recurrent non-debt spending was put at N3.51tn in 2018 even as HURIWA called to question the rationale in the extensive borrowings from all sorts of places including China whereas the minister claimed that there was also a provision of N2.01tn for debt servicing, which is 21 per cent of the total budget, while a provision of N177bn to retire maturing bond to local contractors was made by the government."