Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has assured the Federal Government that the governors were prepared to pay back what their various states were owing it, if and when accounts were reconciled.
Fayemi announced this while reading the communiqué of the forum meeting held on Wednesday night in Abuja.
He was reacting to the Federal Government’s resolution to recover N614 billion loan facility from 35 states of the federation, saying that they were ready to pay but that there should be reconciliation of accounts.
According to him, “If you borrow, you pay. We are never averse to payment of loans under legal environment and we don’t want a situation that will put our financial system in jeopardy.
“However, governors believe that we are ready to pay, we also have a duty to ensure a reconciliation of account as far as monies owed to states may be concerned.”
He lamented that “It is a storm in a tea cup when we read about governors refusing to pay. We don’t have such an issue, we are ready to pay.”
Earlier, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed had said that the Federal Government had resolved to recover N614 billion loan facility from 35 states of the federation.
The minister revealed this when she briefed State House correspondents on the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), presided by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the State House, Abuja.
Mrs Ahmed said that each of the affected 35 states received N17.5 billion as bail out from the federal government.
She said that the council had already agreed to constitute a team to finalise modalities for commencement of repayment of the loan facility.
Fayemi also said that the forum received a presentation from Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet), advising that the country should expect above average rainfall which had already caused severe flooding in several states.
He added that the forum also received briefing on meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and from the Inspector-General of Police “on the unlawful invasion” of some governors’ residences.
He regarded the incident as a direct violation of the immunity of the governors.
On World bank assisted programmes, he said “The forum received a briefing on the status of the world bank assisted State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS).
“The team from the World Bank assured the forum that all assessments now imply that states have improved in transparency ratings over the last quarter.”he said.
Fayemi said that the forum also received the new Country Director of the World Bank, Shubham Chaudhuri, whose tour of duty would begin on October 1.