By Sadiq Umar – The Federal Government (FG) has faulted claims by the Governor of Ekiti state, Ayodele Fayose on non-payment of January allocation, accusing the State of failing to comply with the Budget Support Facility (BSF) policy basic rules that allow access to the facility.
The FG, in a statement by the Director of Information in the Ministry of Finance, Salisu Dambatta, explained that the fund in question is a conditional loan programme and not statutory allocation.
The release explained further that BSF is a Conditional Loan Programme to State Governments introduced to enhance fiscal prudence, transparency, efficiency in public expenditure and payment of salaries.
The Federal Ministry of Finance indicated that Ekiti State government failed to comply with the required conditions for the payment, noting that it was not the first state to be so denied the funds on the same grounds.
The Ministry denied the claim that it withheld statutory allocation due to Ekiti State, or any other State in the country.
While insisting that this is not the first time of non-compliance by the Ekiti State Government, the statement argued that Fayose’s administration defaulted in meeting the conditions specified and agreed upon by the 35 State Governments that are participating in the programme as contained in the Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) and the Ekiti State Government was warned formally of its failure to comply with the full requirements vide a letter on August 5, 2016, with reference number HMF/FMF/ASG/1/2016.
The release indicated: “The failure of Ekiti State Government to comply with the requirements and conditions for the Budget Support Facility (BSF) resulted in a letter sent to the Chief of Staff to notify him of the suspension of BSF for Ekiti State and it was conveyed to Mr. President before payment to the Ekiti State Government was reinstated.
“The Ekiti State Government and all the other participating States are aware of the consequence of failure to comply with the full conditions and it is not the first time that a State would be stopped from accessing the Facility due to non-compliance.
“In the course of its normal duties, the Ministry of Finance has the right to query, suspend or withhold funds as part of the conditions of the Budget Support Facility.”
In the meantime, Fayose has again faulted FG reply, retorting that the explanation adduced the Ministry of Finance was an afterthought which was meant to mislead the public.
His reaction was stated in a statement signed by his SA on Public Communications and New Media, Mr. Lere Olayinka.
The Governor claimed that the state signed up for N14.4 billion and had received funds monthly in the last seven months from the Federal Ministry of Finance .
He queried ”when did they realize that Ekiti State did not meet the conditions? “Or did they send the allocations in the last seven months in error?”
Fayose denied receiving any letter, claiming “If they sent any letter, maybe they sent it today, because the Governor was there yesterday and before then no one knew the reasons why the funds were not released”.
“As I am talking to you, we have not received any letter from the ministry, if they sent any letter, maybe they sent it today. This explanation is an afterthought” Fayose maintained.
Governor Fayose Tuesday raised the non-payment alarm in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, then alleging political power play.
He also visited the Federal Ministry of Finance Wednesday to meet with the Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, but was told that she was at the Presidential Villa for the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.