The Nigeria Labour Congress has advised the Nigerian Government to withhold the parceling out of the last tranche of Paris Club refund to states until after the inauguration of incoming governors on May 29.
The Paris Club refund was said to be in the tune of N649bn.
The advice followed the disclosure by Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, on Thursday that the Nigerian Government was set to disburse the outstanding N649.434bn to states. Speaking at a press conference on the activities of her ministry, Ahmed said the money was the last tranche of the refund.
She said, “For the final phase of the Paris Club debt refund, the total sum of N649.434bn was verified by the ministry as the outstanding balance to be refunded 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.”
But reacting to the development, the President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba said that the union’s recommendation to the Federal Government would be to delay the disbursement of the money till after May 29, when the newly elected governors would have been sworn in. He said the reasons border on accountability and the manner the previous refunds were used by some governors.
Wabba said, “The incumbent governors have a few days to go, so I am of the strong view that the money should actually be given to the incoming governors who would start on a clean slate and address substantial issues in governance.
“Clearly, some of the outgoing governors would like to use the money to pay severance allowances, which I think is not a priority, and you know that some of the states have spent a huge amount of money on their build-up for the 2019 elections.”