Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration released a bailout of N1.64 trillion to states and local governments between 2015 and 2017 as part of measures to stabilise the polity.
The money is separate from the statutory monthly allocations shared by the federal government, states and local governments from the federation account.
Buhari revealed this in a broadcast to commemorate Nigeria’s 57th Independence anniversary on Sunday in Abuja.
According to him, the funds were released to enable the states and local governments to “pay outstanding salaries, pensions and small business suppliers who had been all but crippled over the years.
“Furthermore, in order to stabilize the polity, the Federal Government gave additional support to states in the form of State Excess Crude Account loans, Budget Support Facility, and Stabilization Fund Release to state and local government as follows:
“N200 billion in 2015, N441 billion in 2016 and N1 trillion in 2017, altogether totaling N1.64 trillion.
“This was done to enable states to pay outstanding salaries, pensions and small business suppliers who had been all but crippled over the years.’’
Previous Appeal To Governors On Workers’ Salary
Mr. Buhari had on September 11, appealed to state governors to pay all understanding salaries of their workers, and accumulated pensions of ex-workers from the additional funds provided to them by the Federal Government.
He made the appeal when he met with members of the National Council of Traditional Rulers at the new Banquet hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He had frowned at the inability of the concerned state governments to pay retirement benefits and outstanding salaries of workers with their shares of Paris Club Loan Refunds paid to them.
“We have to digress this much because I would like to convince you that I’m living with the problems of this country day-by-day, and mostly those of the ordinary people.
“There are Nigerians that haven’t been paid for six months; there are Nigerians that have not been paid their retirement benefits for years.
“I’m appealing to the governors (that was why we voted money, we borrowed money), please make sure you pay anybody under you.
”Pay them because most of them depend on that salary to pay rent, school fees,” he had said.
Special Intervention Programme
The president disclosed that the Federal Government’s current N500 billion Special Intervention Programme targeted groups through the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme and the N-Power Programme as well as providing loans to small-scale traders and artisans.
He said that the intervention programme also covered the Conditional Cash Transfer, Family Homes Fund and Social Housing Scheme.
200,000 farmers benefit from FG’s N44 billion
At least 200,000 farmers from the federation have benefitted from the N43.9 billion Federal Government’s agricultural Anchor Borrowers Programme, Buhari also disclosed.
According to the president, the amount was released to the farmers through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and 13 participating institutions.
He stated that the programme involved 233,000 hectares of farmland, cultivating eight commodities, namely Rice, Wheat, Maize, Cotton, soya-beans, Poultry, Cassava and Groundnuts, in addition to fish farming.
“These initiatives have been undertaken in close collaboration with the states. I wish to commend the efforts of the governors of Kebbi, Lagos, Ebonyi and Jigawa States for their support to rice and fertilizer revolutions.
“Equally commendable are contributions of the governors of Ondo, Edo, Delta, Imo, Cross River, Benue, Ogun, Kaduna and Plateau states for their support for the Presidential initiative for palm oil, rubber, cashew, cassava, potatoes and others crops.
“With the abundance of rainfall last year and this year, agriculture has enjoyed divine intervention.’’
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