N649bn Paris Club Refund: Niger Delta States To Get Lion’s Share
There are strong indications that five states may get the highest allocation out of the N649.43bn expected to be paid by the Federal Government to state governments from the final tranche of the Paris Club loan refund.
The states, according to investigations by our correspondent, are Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Kano and Rivers.
Findings by our correspondent in Abuja showed that due to their strategic importance in terms of revenue allocation, the five states had suffered the highest deductions when the loans for the payment of the Paris club debt were being deducted from the federation account.
It was also gathered that the Federal Government might not pay the final tranche of the N649.43bn refund until after May 29 when new states’ chief executive officers are sworn in.
A top government official confided in said that states that got the highest allocation from the Federation Account Allocation Committee were those that suffered highest deductions during the payment of the Paris club debt. The Paris Club refunds are the longstanding claims resulting from reported over-deductions regarding Paris Club debts made from state government accounts as far back as 1995 to 2002.
These refunds are over-deductions from the states’ FAAC payments for foreign loan servicing over the stated period. The refunds have been the subject of dispute between the federal and state governments for quite some time.
The source told our correspondent that now that the amount was being refunded, the same pattern that was adopted for the deduction would be used for the refund.
The source stated, “You will recall that in December 2016, the first tranche of Paris Club refund was made to the state governments.
“The amount given was about N516bn, and out of this, five states — Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Kano and Rivers — got the highest amount of about N135bn.
“A few months later, we released the second tranche of N243bn, and each of these five states got about N10bn which makes about N50bn.”
The source added, “Now that work has been concluded on the final tranche, I can tell you that they will also receive more than other states.
“This is because deductions for the payment of the debt were made from FAAC allocations and these states received more money than any other states of the federation due to the revenue sharing formula.
“So it is natural that since they suffered huge deductions during the payment of the loan a few years back, now that the money is being refunded by the Federal Government to states, they will get what was deducted.”
On when the ministry will start the release of the money, the source said the release of the fund would depend on President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.
He said, “We have done our own job by verifying how much would be paid to the states government as the final tranche.
“But you know that the administration is winding down in two weeks and from what we are hearing, the cabinet may be dissolved next week.
“So there is no possibility that the money will be released before the dissolution of the cabinet.
“Secondly, there will also be a change of government in many of the states. So, you don’t expect that such huge sums of money would be released by the Federal Government to state governments at this time when there are so many uncertainties.
“From the look of things, the release of the fund may be done when the new administration settles down after the formation of a new cabinet.”
The Special Adviser on Media to the Minister of Finance, Mr. Paul Ella, said he had no information on when the amount would be released.
A’Ibom Doles Out N132m For Hospital Maintenance
The Akwa Ibom State Government has released N132 million for the maintenance of General Hospitals across the 31 Local Government Areas of the state in the last one year.
The State’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Augustine Umoh, disclosed this during an Inter-Ministerial Briefing, tagged, “Tracking the Promise” in Uyo, recently.
Umoh said Governor Udom Emmanuel is committed to effective healthcare delivery service in the state.
He noted that the State Government is aware of shortage of Nurses and Midwives in the health sector, adding that the shortfall of medical personnel has been addressed through employment of over 300 Doctors and Nurses in hospitals .
The Commissioner, however, said the number of recruited medical personnel was not enough, and government planned to bring back retired Midwives, who are still strong to support existing ones in the healthcare service.
“We will soon bring back retired Midwives who are still strong into the state hospital service. Government will pay them stipends to encourage them in contributing through their acquired experiences in the health sector.
“However, more health personnel would be employed to ensure efficient healthcare delivery in the state”, Umoh said.
He reeled out achievements of the Governor in the health sector in the last eight years to include renovation of hospitals and construction of new ones.
He listed the remodeled hospitals in the state to include; General Hospitals in Ikot Abasi, Eket, Anua and the procurement of medical equipment.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Ini Ememobong, said it became necessary to sensitise the public on the true position of government’s projects, programmes and activities.
Ememobong said it was worrisome that after seven and half years of governance with numerous record of achievements in all sectors, some sordid and disparaging news items are still being spread around.
“We have, therefore, brought every section of the society together here to find out the reason the stories and reports sent out do not correspond with what we have on ground in the State.
“Governor Emmanuel has constructed numerous roads in the State, such as the Uyo-Etinan-Ndon Eyo Road and Ikot Oku Ikono flyover, among others but someone will write that there is no road in Akwa Ibom State,” he said.
UBTH Mourns Former CMD
The management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) has expressed grief over the death of Prof. Michael Ibadin, a former Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital.
In a statement made available to The Tide’s source in Benin yesterday, the CMD, Dr Darlington Obaseki, said the deceased succumbed during a brief illness.
Obaseki described the late Ibadin as a quintessential leader and a mentor to many.
He said his demise was a big loss not only to his family, but also to the hospital community and the medical world.
“With a deep sense of loss and pain in our hearts, we submit to the will of the Almighty God on the passing into the celestial realm of our former CMD, Prof. M.O. Ibadin after a brief illness.
“Until his death, he was a Professor of Paediatrics, a Consultant Pediatric Nephrologist and an astute health administrator.
“He was also a mentor who introduced several persons into hospital administration and management, including myself.
“We commiserate with his immediate family at this time and pray that God himself will console them and grant them the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss,” he said.
Reverse Illegal Sack Of Workers, Obaseki Tells AAU Mgt
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has directed the management of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, to immediately reverse all recent disengagement letters issued to some staff of the institution.
The government directive is contained in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media Projects to the Governor, Mr Crusoe Osagie, and made available to newsmen in Benin.
Obaseki, in the statement, said the sack notices issued earlier to some staff of the university were illegal, null and void.
“The management is to retrieve any such illegal letters if they were ever issued and reinstate the affected staff.
“I have ordered an in-depth investigation into what led to the sporadic issuance of illegal sack letters and ensure that anyone found culpable will be brought to book”, the Governor said.
Obaseki reiterated his commitment to the welfare of members of staff, adding that he was working to find solutions to all lingering issues affecting workers in the state-owned institution.
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