Buhari Orders Release Of Second Tranche Of Paris Club Refund To Governors

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By Sadiq Umar – President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to immediately release the second tranche of the London-Paris Club refunds to the States in order to ease their financial burdens.

Chairman, Governor’s Forum

The release of the first tranche from the $3.1billion refund from Paris and London Clubs to the Governors had been a subject of controversy, following allegations of corruption and mismanagement of the fund by governors.

But Mr. Buhari gave the directive during Thursday’s meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the State House in Abuja, urging that it be used to cushion the economic hardship in the states.

The monthly FEC meeting is made up of State Governors and headed by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo and it is the highest economic decision making body in the country.

The President, however, told the Governors to ensure that funds are channeled into settlement of unpaid salaries and pension liabilities of workers.

“I will not rest until I address those issues that affect our people. One of these basic things is the issue of salaries. It is most important that workers are able to feed their families, pay rent and school fees, then other things can follow,” Mr. Buhari stressed.

A statement by Presidential Spokesman, Garba Shehu, Thursday in Abuja said, “President Buhari, who went round the council chambers to greet the governors one after another, praised the unity of the Forum of State Governors. He thanked them for their display of “love and respect” to him.

The president said he was overwhelmed by his recent experience in which states, irrespective of political differences charged their citizens to pray in mosques and churches for his well-being, and apologised to governors for barring them from visits to him while he rested in London.

“I didn’t want government to move to London. I wanted it to remain here and I am glad it did,” he said.

“After narrating what he went through while on that vacation, President Buhari noted the suggestion by the governors for him to add more rest, but insisted that he would remain relentless in the pursuit of the interest of the Nigerian people at all times.

This, according to him, was the only way to show his gratitude to the people who, he said, “had given so much to me. I was overwhelmed by the celebration of my return all across the country.”

The chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Abdul-Aziz Yari of Zamfara State, assured the president, on behalf of his colleagues, that they will continue to support his policies and actions which they had adjudged as being in the nation’s best interest.

The governors of Imo, Akwa-Ibom, Osun and Abia States thanked President Buhari for saving the day for states through the first tranche of the London-Paris Club refunds while calling for the immediate release of the second one.

They also commended the trust the president reposed in the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, whom they said did not disappoint when he acted as president.

 

 

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