States set to receive final tranche of Paris Club refund

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States set to receive final tranche of Paris Club refund

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed has said that the Federal Government will soon release the sum of N649.43bn as the final refund for the Paris Club debit his to state governments.

The minister revealed this on Thursday at a press briefing in Abuja on the activities of her ministry, adding that the amount had already been verified by the ministry as the outstanding balance to be refunded to the state governments.

According to her, the refund would be made to the state governments in due course.

She said: “For the final phase of the Paris Club debts refunds, the total sum of N649.434bn was verified by the ministry as the outstanding balance to be refunded to the 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.”

Speaking further, Ahmed said that between June 20, 2018, when the 2018 budget was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari and May 14, 2019, the Federal Government had released a total of N2.079tn to finance the capital components of the 2018 budget.

Ahmed also explained that government would continue with the implementation of the capital component of the 2018 budget until the coming into operation of the 2019 budget.

She said that the assessment of the 2019 Appropriation Bill, which was passed by the National Assembly, would soon be completed and a report sent to President Buhari for consideration.

According to the minister, the constitution provided for spending the current year’s budget on a provisional basis for salaries and recurrent expenditure, adding that the capital budget for 2018 was still running until the new budget came into place.

She said: “We have a situation whereby we have two different periods running side by side. So, at any point in time, we have a budget that is running.

“The law allows us on a provisional basis to run 50 per cent of the previous year’s provision on the current year’s budget.

“When the budget is assented to, we will now transfer all the transactions that have happened to the 2019 budget, so there is no gap.”

The Minister however said that the Buhari government would work with the ninth National Assembly, to streamline the process and return to the January to December budget cycle year.

The minister also hinted that the financial implications of the new minimum wage had been worked out by the Presidential Committee set up by the President and that the report had been submitted to the president.

She said; “We have looked at the report and what we are working on now is how we can finance it.

“Apart from the increase of the minimum wage from N18, 000 to N30, 000, there is also a consequential adjustment that we have to negotiate with the labour unions.

“The total implication of that would be worked out only after the negotiations and that would involve determining how much increase every other employee above the minimum wage would get.

“It could be a flat amount or a proportion, but the other aspect that is clear is that there would be an increase for the National Youth Service Corps as well because, by the Act, they should earn at least the minimum wage and the NYSC also has to increase to that N30, 000.

“So, because we have not done the negotiation with labour, I cannot give you the details of what we are projecting because it is simply on projections.

“At the end of the day, it is what we agree with labour that will be the amount that is due.”

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