Paris Club Refund: Court Sets Aside Consent Judgement On Payment Of $47m

File photo of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

 

The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court Abuja, Justice John Tsoho,  has set aside a consent judgement in favour of Panic Alert Security Systems Limited against the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

Delivering the ruling on Wednesday, Justice Tsoho, held that the said consent judgement was entered without jurisdiction in its entirety.

The company is one of the beneficiaries of the payment of $418 million to consultants and is said to be for payment for professional services in the Paris Club refund to State Governments. It had relied on the consent judgement to lay claim to professional fees of over $40 million.

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Earlier, the court had restricted the Federal Government from deducting $418 million from the bank accounts of the 36 states.

The state governors had accused the Attorney-general of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, of alleged involvement in the controversial payment.

The Governors’ Forum later instructed its counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Paul Ogbole,  to challenge the consent judgment the AGF relied upon in court.

Justice Tsoho agreed with counsel to the NGF that the reliefs claimed by the company were premised on a simple contract which by section 251 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) strips the court ab initio the required jurisdiction to entertain such matters.

Accordingly, the court set aside the consent judgement.

By the ruling, all approvals by the AGF, the president, the minister of finance, the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Debt Management Office (DMO) arising from, related to, or concerning Panic Alert’s claims have been voided.

Paris Club Refund: NGF Accuses Ned Nwoko Of Telling ‘Half Truths’

A file photo of Mr Ned Nwoko.
A file photo of Mr Ned Nwoko.

 

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has accused the lead counsel in the Paris Club refund case, Ned Nwoko, of telling what it described as “half-truths” following the latter’s claim that the governors demanded and received $100 million to prosecute elections in some states.

A statement by the NGF on Sunday said Ned’s claim in Saturday’s press briefing is an attempt to hide the truth.

“In his desperation to justify his claim, NED peddled untruths that his team was a member of the Federal Government Committee constituted to reconcile figures under the Paris Club refunds to the States and Local Governments. That is patently false,” the NGF’s Director, Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, said in the statement.

“The report of that committee dated May 2007 shows that only the FMF, OAGF, CBN, DMO, and RMFC (secretariat) were members. Private persons who were not privy could not have been included in a committee that was meant to examine purely public financial records. It was this Committee that did all the work now claimed by NED and the other consultants.”

READ ALSO: [Paris Club Refund] Ned Nwoko Faults Governors

It also said “the desperate, spurious and futile advocacy mounted and coordinated by the AGF on behalf of the so-called Paris Club Consultants to justify the plundering of the humongous sum of USD418.9m from the public treasury of the States and Local Governments continued on Saturday 20th August 2022, when Ned Nwoko, in a press statement, attempted to blur and obfuscate the real facts and legal issues in controversy by dishing out blatant lies and half-truths.

“The facts are and will always remain: whether the claims of the consultants are lawful and justified under our Constitution and whether any Judgment which is a subject of a pending appeal can be enforced or executed as the consultants now attempt to do? If both questions are answered in the negative, it does not matter if the contracts leading to the claims were entered into by any public official, past or present.”

The NGF noted that it will not waste time defending “unsubstantiated claims”, maintaining that its “role in the whole of this Paris Club refund debacle to consultants is to ensure that Nigeria citizens are not unlawfully deprived of resources meant for their development”.

“NGF will not, therefore, waste its valuable time to defend unsubstantiated allegations against individuals or persons who are in a position to defend themselves. If NED is sure of his facts, he is at liberty to approach the necessary authorities to bring to justice any person or persons and all conspirators (including himself) who were allegedly involved in misappropriating public resources for campaign financing,” the statement further read.

“The NGF hereby states unequivocally that it has not at any time been involved in or been in receipt of USD$100m or any other funds from NED Nwoko to finance elections in any State.”

Paris Club Refund: Ned Nwoko Faults Governors

A file photo of Mr Ned Nwoko.
A file photo of Mr Ned Nwoko.

 

Lead consultant in the Paris club refund case, Ned Nwoko, has faulted the position of Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi in the matter.

Addressing a media conference, the former member of the House of Representatives said the Governors had signed an indemnity under the last Chairmanship of the forum.

He alleged that the Forum had demanded and received the sum of $100 million to prosecute elections in some states.

The lead consultant said when he submitted a bill of $350 million as the consultancy fee, the state governors demanded to be paid 50 percent of that amount, before it can be validated.

According to Mr Nwoko, through the intervention of the Ministry of Justice, the governors received the sum of $100 million instead to resolve the matter.

He further explained that a former Chairman of the forum had told him that the money was needed to prosecute elections in Bauchi, Ekiti and Ondo states.

Nwoko revealed that the money being owed to Ned Nwoko solicitors was $68 million dollars and not $418 million dollars as touted.

‘He’s Defending Private Concerns’: NGF Tackles Malami Over Paris Club Refund

 

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has responded to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami over the controversy trailing the payment of consultancy fees amounting to $418 million from the Paris Club refund.

Speaking on Sunrise Daily, spokesperson of the NGF, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo questioned why the AGF was so concerned about private claims to state funds.

In 2021, the governors had obtained an order from a federal high court in Abuja restraining the federal government from deducting the money from states’ accounts for the purpose of paying the disputed debt.

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On Thursday, Mr Malami claimed the Governors had no basis for disputing the payments.

He said the consultants were hired by the Governors and that they had taken steps to pay before backtracking and taking the matter to court.

In his response, Bello-Barkindo said the Attorney-General should be more concerned about how the government can fund university education and not funnel money into private pockets.

“There is no component that compels the governors’ forum to pay consultants anything, and there is no agreement between the consultants collectively and governors collectively,” he said.

“The Paris fund money has been exhausted, and the consultants and the attorney general are expecting the money to be deducted from states’ accounts from sources over 52 or 58 months. That is unheard of.

“And what the NGF is saying is that there is no money to be paid and the monies that have been paid are gross errors.

“Where they are asking the monies to be gotten from is the biggest sacrilege. This money belongs to the states, the masses of this country and because you’re powerful, you want money to be taken and given to you.

“That’s why they are using the attorney general of the federation to get the money at the source because the state does not have any reason [to pay].

“What the attorney general is claiming that there is a consent judgement is what the NGF is saying did not exist.

“What the NGF is asking for is evidence of work done. Some of them said they have constructed primary health cares across the country, and other said they have provided boreholes, these are physical things that you can show.

“This matter is in court. The court is the only authority that can determine clearly whether there is a reason for payment or not, why are highly placed lawyers afraid of their own platform?”

Attorneys General Meet In Lagos Over Paris Club Refund, VAT, Others

Lagos State Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, during a press conference at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, on November 4, 2020.

 

The Attorneys General of the 36 states of the Federation will on Wednesday meet in Lagos to discuss some critical legal issues bordering on Value Added Tax, Paris Club Refunds, and Stamp Duty, among others.

The meeting, which is scheduled to hold from June 15-17 will have the Chairman of the Nigerian Southern Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu delivering the keynote address at the opening session.

Other issues to be deliberated upon by the States Attorneys General are the proposed amendments to the stamp duties act, pensions and gratuity for judges, and amendments to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999)as amended.

Other critical legal issues to be discussed at the meeting are the state Anti-Corruption Commission established by states and the FIRS threat to recovering “unremitted tax deductions by states” and local governments.

The meeting is also expected to be addressed by the governors of Lagos and Plateau State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Simon Lalong.

READ ALSO: Gbajabiamila Raises Concern Over Loss Of Over 170 Reps During Primaries

Other speakers are the Attorneys General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Olumide Akpata and the Director-General of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum, Asishana Okauru.

The Attorney-General of Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) who is also the interim chairman of the Body of Attorney’s-General of States of the Federation will also make a presentation at the meeting.

The body was established as part of efforts to form a formidable force of state Attorney Generals, to take positions on legal issues, advise the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and take legal action or review legal actions taken on behalf of all states.

Part of its mandate includes the pursuit of true federalism, adherence to the constitution, rule of law, independence of the judiciary, as well as liaison with the AGF on behalf of the states on legal issues.

It would be recalled that the body of state Attorneys General recently warned the federal government not to tamper with funds accruing to the states and the 774 Local Government Councils in the guise of satisfying the alleged $418 million London/Paris Club Loan refund-related judgment debts.

They had insisted that the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which dismissed their opposition to the payment, is now a subject of an appeal.

They further warned that should the Federal Government proceed to make any such deduction, it would be acting illegally and in contempt of their appeal challenging the judgment, which is before the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.

Governors Accuse Malami Of Supporting Consultants In $418m Paris Club Payments

A file photo of members of the NGF at a meeting in Abuja in January 2020.

 

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on Monday said the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation (HAGF), Abubakar Malami, was working against the public’s interest by insisting on the payment of $418 million to private consultants from the accounts of state governments.

The consultants are claiming a percentage of Paris Club refunds as payment of services they said they rendered to the states and local government.

The Federal Government had determined to pay the consultants from state accounts but a Federal High Court on Friday restrained it from making such deductions until all issues relating to that matter were fully determined.

In a statement signed by the spokesman of the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Umar Gwandu, on Friday, the AGF suggested the states and local governments had acted in bad faith for taking the case to court.

READ ALSO: No Violation In Process To Deduct $418m From States’ Account – AGF

The deductions were ratified by several court judgements, the AGF said, and the Federal Government only had to step in to avoid forfeiting any of its assets, since it was also a defendant in the lawsuits against the states.

But on Monday, the NGF, in a statement signed by its spokesperson Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, said the AGF’s actions “raises questions of propriety and the spirit of justice.”

“The HAGF is supposed to be the chief arbiter in all matters concerning Nigerians, especially the poor masses of this country. It is incumbent upon him to, not just ensure that justice is done, but that justice is seen to have been done,” the statement said.

“The undue haste, with which the statement was issued even before the service on the AGF of the court processes and the order dated 5th November, 2021restraining the Federal Government, seems to suggest that there is a special relationship between the Office of the HAGF and the consultants over and above Nigerian citizens, whose interest the HAGF as the Chief Law Officer of the Federation is statutorily bound to always protect. The statement also suggests that the restraining order issued last Friday not only unsettled preconceived plans and angered the unnamed ‘government officers’ referred to by the media aide.

“The media aide to the HAGF justifies the deductions on the basis that they are made pursuant to four court judgments; two of which are consent judgments and/or that the NGF/States and LGAs consented, expressed no objection to the payments and had already paid part of the debts to the said contractors and consultants. The statement by the media aide to the HAGF however conveniently and deliberately failed to name the judgments under reference and whether they are on appeal or challenged in any other way. He also failed to specify which of the four judgments authorized payments and in what proportion to each of the contractors.

“While it is very easy to argue as the AGF does, that the NGF and ALGON took no early steps to appeal as they should have done, it is important to inform the Nigerian public that State governors have since appealed and are challenging the judgments in various courts. Interestingly the AGF has been served all these processes, nevertheless, this was ignored and payment was authorized to be made and has been processed with unprecedented speed not common in the public service. It must be stated that between the NGF and AGF, the latter is in more vantage constitutional position and has a legal responsibility and burden to defend public interest. The AGF should have therefore initiated appeals against the said judgments once his attention was drawn to them, because public interest was at stake involving huge sums of money meant for the provision of public services. It must be noted that the state governments were not parties to any of the said judgments. It should be further stated that the Office of the AGF failed to professionally defend the cases leading to those judgments and the courts commented on that unprofessional attitude.

“While we are constrained not to comment on a subject which is sub-judice, we have a responsibility to the public to respond in some detail to the statement issued by the Office of the AGF in order to put the records straight. Any discerning legal mind would find no difficulty in concluding that the so-called judgments under reference are dripping with too many irregularities bordering on competence and lack of jurisdiction which are the bases why some of them are being challenged on appeal and in other courts. No diligent public officer would act on such judgments by recommending payment.”

The NGF also noted that the AGF had recommended payments to some contractors allegedly based on judgments that did “not make any monetary award or on claims that were struck out.

“The AGF may need to explain to Nigerians why these particular judgment debts are given unusual attention and priority and processed with supersonic speed over and above all others; some of which preceded these so-called judgments and have been pending for settlement by the AGF for several years.

“While it is convenient to say that part of these judgment debts have been paid with the release of USD$86,546,526.65 and N19,439,225,871.11 in 2016 and $100m in 2018 to the contractors with the concurrence of the NGF; that does not detract from the fact that they were payments wrongly made which ought not to have been made even if they were products of consent Judgments. States can still go after the contractors to recover the funds wrongly made. It should concern the HAGF that ALGON disowned the contracts claimed by RIOK and the same was duly communicated to him requesting him to prevent the use of LG funds to ‘settle dubious and illegal claims’

“Was the AGF not concerned that several contractors are laying claim to legal fees for the same Paris Club Refund? Was it lost on the AGF on the detailed procedure available under the law how legal fees can be claimed in deserving cases?

“One of the strange payments made is that of USD$47,831,920 million to Panic Alert Security Systems Ltd/George Uboh for allegedly reviewing a 16-page judgment for the then factional NGF. Can the Office of the HAGF point to any consent judgment awarding that sum to PANIC Alert? Did the NGF’s letter of 20th January, 2020 relied upon by the HAGF ever recommend the payment of any sum?

“LINAS and NED Nwoko in this scheme are walking away with US$68,658,193.83 state funds allegedly for legal consultancy services. Is the AGF not aware that the work alleged to have been done by him was already contained in a FAAC Reconciliation Committee Report constituted in 2005 submitted in 2007 with recommendations on how states and LGAs should be refunded the over charges from the Paris Club Refunds.

“Dr. Ted Iseghohi-Edwards has been paid the sum of USD$159m in promissory notes, yet he had his matter in Suit No FCT/HC/CV/1353/18 struck out on November 10th, 2020. Furthermore, the legal basis for his claim is rooted in SUIT NO FHC/ABJ/CS/130/13: LINAS INTERNATIONAL LTD & 235 ORS V FGN which clearly stated that he cannot benefit under the judgment because he was not a party in the case and cannot enforce the terms of the judgment. Contrary to the representation of the AGF, the EFCC’s report on TED was negative. The report not only recommended his arrest but a forfeiture of any of his assets associated with the Paris Club Refund. The AGF ignored these recommendations.

“RIOK to whom the AGF supports and recommends the payment of USD$142,028,941.95 was also excluded by Justice Ademola in the Judgment in the LINAS case. This was confirmed by the Court of Appeal in Appeal No CA/558/2017. That is the appeal now before the Supreme Court (SC). Which Judgment then is the basis of the AGF recommendation that RIOK be paid the sum of $142,028,941.95. There is also no evidence of execution of any contract by RIOK. Curiously, the Department of State Security (DSS) is alleged to have confirmed 50% execution. The Court and EFCC stated clearly that it is not the responsibility of the DSS to ascertain the execution of contracts as they do not have the expertise. ALGON disowned the contracts. Why will the AGF insist on them? It is not true that the EFCC in its report recommended payment to the contractors. It did not.

“In the case of payments recommended and paid to Prince Orji Nwafor Orizu US$1,219,440.45, and Olaitan Bello – US$215,195.36, it remains a mystery. These two lawyers are alleged to have performed legal services for RIOK and its associated companies and not for the states or LGAs. Why they are paid from State resources is only imagined.

“The AGF also claims he intervened to pay the contractors to avoid execution of the judgments against the federal government resources. That is absolutely not true at all. Assets of the FGN were not at any time threatened. The NGF is not aware that there is any existing mandamus issued by any court in favour of the contractors against the Federal Government. The only application for mandamus by PANIC Alert is pending for hearing at the Federal High Court and parties have since joined issues.

“The AGF also says that the NGF and LGAs seek to transfer their liability to the FGN. That is not true. There is no liability to transfer in the first place and none exists; neither has the NGF provided any undertaking or indemnity to the FGN to act on its behalf as represented by the AGF.

“The AGF has consistently stated that this administration is an avid respecter of the rule of law. This is one case in which this commitment should be fully and completely demonstrated. Let the AGF remain neutral and protect scarce public resources. Let him advice the contractors to wait until all appeals and litigations in court are concluded. That is the true test of observing the rule of law. There is no other way, uncomfortable as that would appear. State resources needed for critical development should not under any guise be frittered away as payments for contracts whose veracity and authenticity is still a subject of litigation and disputation. These contractors are impecunious and cannot restitute the states/LGAs if the appeals or other litigation are determined against them.

“We call on the general public to be alert and vigilant. The debt relief granted Nigeria by the Paris Club in 2005 was meant to enable her have a respite and use the resources saved for meaningful development. It was not for distribution to private persons to fund their luxurious lives; neither can Nigeria justify her borrowing funds all over the world to fund capital projects and turn round to disburse state resources to individuals in a manner that offends all public sensibilities.

“We urge all those appointed as gatekeepers to our laws to ensure that the laws of our land are respected and protected. Let professionalism, reasonable caution and due diligence prevail on this matter, please.”

FG Cannot Start Paris Club Deduction Now, Says Fayemi

 

Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, says state governments cannot allow arbitrary deductions of funds for the payment of consultants for the Paris Club Refund.

Governor Fayemi stated this while fielding questions from journalists on the sidelines of the 27th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja on Tuesday.

The Federal Government plans to begin deduction from the federation account for the payment of $418 million to private consultants who took part in the Paris Club Refund.

This move by the Federal Government is projected to affect the recurrent expenditure of at least 33 states and they may not be able to pay the salaries of their workers.

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For this reason, the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum says the state governors are not in support of the decision.

According to him, a situation where the Federal Government makes arbitrary deductions without the input of state governors is wrong.

He says state governors have agreed not to collect any allocation from the Federation Allocation Account (FAAC) until the issues are resolved.

“We are dealing with the issue. we would find a resolution to it. As far as states are concerned, they do not accept that funds belonging to federation account could just be arbitrarily deducted without the input of the states, and that’s why we are insisting that until this is clarified, we would rather leave the money in the pool until we have all agreed on the direction,” Governor Fayemi said.

Paris Club Refunds: Appeal Court Okays Final Forfeiture Of N1.4bn

Court Jails Woman Who Killed Brother For Stealing Meat

 

The Court of Appeal Sitting in Lagos has upheld the judgement of a Federal High Court which ordered the permanent forfeiture of a sum of N1.4bn which a firm, Melrose General Services Limited obtained from the Nigeria Governors Forum through false claims.

Melrose General Services Limited is allegedly linked to the outgoing Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and two of his aides Gbenga Makanjuola and Kolawole Shittu are being prosecuted by the EFCC in a separate matter for the alleged diversion of some of the funds.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos had on April 27, 2018, ordered the final forfeiture of the said N1.4billion to the Federal Government.

Dissatisfied with the verdict, Melrose General Services approached the appellate court and asked it to set aside the verdict of Justice Olatoregun.

But in a unanimous judgment written by Justice Tijani Abubakar, the appeal court agreed with Justice Olatoregun that the money should be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The judgment was read today by Justice Ebiowei Tobi and the third member of the panel was Justice Obaseki-Adejumo.

The appeal court resolved all the issues in contention in favour of the EFCC and held that Melrose’s appeal lacked merit. The company was subsequently ordered to pay N100,000 to the EFCC.

In arriving at its decision, the appeal court held that Melrose Ltd could not show that the said funds were lawfully earned by it.

It added that section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud Act, 2006, which the EFCC relied on to seek for the forfeiture of the funds was Constitutional.

According to the Court of Appeal, Melrose was not denied fair hearing in the matter.

The EFCC through its counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, had claimed that Melrose obtained N3.5bn from the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, by making false claims.

Lawyer to the Melrose, Mr Olawale Akoni (SAN), objected and argued that his clients were not given fair hearing during the proceedings at the lower court

Apart from Melrose, the EFCC had also listed WASPS Network Ltd and Thebe Wellness Services as defendants in the forfeiture suit.

The firms were accused of impersonating a consortium of consulting firms engaged by the NGF for the verification, reconciliation and recovery of over-deductions on Paris and London Club Loans on the accounts of states and local governments between 1995 and 2002.

But the EFCC insisted that the original firms engaged by the Governors Forum were GSCL Consulting and Bizplus Consulting Services Limited.‎

A top EFCC’s investigator Usman Zakari, who deposed to the affidavit for final forfeiture said that the alter ego of Melrose General Services Limited, Robert Mbonu, made a false representation to the Governors Forum, causing the forum to pay N3.5bn to his company on December 14, 2016.

States To Get N649.4bn Paris Club Refund Balance, Says Minister

Nigeria Signs $523,823 TA Agreement Grant With Islamic Devt Bank
A file photo of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.

 

The Federal Government is set to disburse the sum of N649.4billion to states as their balance of the Paris Club debts refunds.

The Supervising Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said this on Thursday, in Abuja during a quarterly press conference on the activities of the Finance Ministry.

She said the funds have been verified and refund will be made to the states in due course.

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“For the final phase of the Paris Club debt refunds, the total sum of N649.434 billion was verified by the Ministry as the outstanding balance to be refunded to the state governments.

“The payments made by the CBN as at March 2019, is N691.560billion. The increase in CBN payments partly arose from the exchange rate differential at the point of payment. Although, some states still have outstanding balances, which will be refunded, in due course.”

The Minister also disclosed that a total of N603 billion has been saved through the Federal Governments initiative on Continuous Audit between 2016 to date.

Findings from the committee have led to the conviction of some ghost workers while others are currently undergoing trials.

“The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) has saved the Federation N603.78billion from its inception in 2016 to date. Among this figure, is the savings of N8.30 billion during Q1 2019.

“As part of this administration’s zero tolerance on corruption, PICA’s findings on ghost workers has been acted on by convicting some civil servants and also there are some that are undergoing trial on the court while others are undergoing investigation by the EFCC,” she said.

Others officials present at the media briefing include the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali; the Director-General, Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha; the Managing Director, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, and other officials of the ministry of finance.

FG Has Disbursed $5.4bn Of Paris Club Refund To States – Finance Minister

FG, States, LGs Share N648.71bn For September
Zainab Ahmed

 

A total amount of $5.4billion Paris Club Refund has so far been disbursed to states by the Federal Government.

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja while highlighting steps taken by the Federal Government to increase revenue generation in 2019.

According to her, the Federal Government has taken steps on debts repayment, as a total of $5.4 billion has been paid for the Paris club refund, $1.9 billion as export expansion grant and $6.8billion payment for cash call obligation.

READ ALSO: Excess Crude Account Drops From $2.319bn To $631m In Three Weeks

The $5.4billion paid as settlement of the Paris Club Refund, when converted based on the N305 per dollar official exchange rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria is about N1.65trillion.

The Paris Club Refund was released to states in phases based on some conditions.

The Minister added that the steps by the Federal Government to improve the economy in 2019 will include the introduction of a national single window trading platform for the Nigerian customs service and automation of revenue collection processes. This she said is expected to increase revenue by over 90 percent.

Ekiti Govt Receives N3.9bn Paris Club Refund, Pays Salary Arrears

Ekiti Govt Receives N3.9bn Paris Club Refund, Pays Salary Arrears
Governor Kayode Fayemi (file)

 

The Ekiti State government has received N3.9 billion from the Federal Government as the last tranche of its Paris Club refund.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Yinka Oyebode, revealed this in a statement on Thursday.

He added that N3.3billion was also deducted and paid as outstanding 2016- 2018 counterpart fund for Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) being owed by the state, as directed by the President.

Upon receiving the refund on Thursday, Oyebode disclosed that Governor Kayode Fayemi had consequently directed that the N3.9billion Paris Club refund be applied to pay one month of outstanding arrears to state and local government workers, teachers, and pensioners.

He explained that this was in line with the governor’s promise to workers and people of the state, noting that it would be done with augmentation from internal savings.

According to the statement, the Paris Club refund was received following President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention in the matter, after Governor Fayemi’s visit to the President last week.

“Governor Fayemi expressed appreciation to the President for the timely intervention, having assured workers in the state that his administration would explore all avenues to clear the five to eight months’ salary arrears owed workers in the state by the immediate past administration, within a reasonable period,” the statement said.

“Dr Fayemi, had while fielding questions during the monthly “Meet Your Governor” programme on television and radio last week re-assured workers that he was yet to receive the Paris Club refund, adding that he would make it public once the state received the payment.”

Oyebode claimed that the immediate past administration of Mr Ayodele Fayose had received a total of N18.34 billion Paris Club refund in three tranches between December 2016 and December 2017, in addition to bailout funds, budget support funds and excess crude support, all totalling about N55 billion.

He accused the former administration of failing to utilise such on salary being owed workers and retirees.

However, the former governor has yet to counter the allegations.

The first tranche of the Paris Club refund totalling N8.87 billion, according to Fayemi’s aide, was received in December 2016 while the state also got N4.77 billion in July 2017 and another N4.7billion in December 2017.

He insisted that Governor Fayemi has assured workers in the state that his administration would not owe them salaries.

Oyebode added that the governor promised to clear outstanding salaries for all categories of workers within one year.

Paris Club Refund: Ogun Govt Earmarks N11.8bn For Workers’ Welfare

Ogun Govt Partners ECOWAS Commission, UNIDO On Economic Zone
Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun (file)

 

The Ogun State government says it has commenced the disbursement of 65 per cent of the last tranche of the Paris Club Refund to pay backlogs of cooperative deductions, gratuity, severance and furniture allowance of its workforce.

Commissioner for Finance in the state, Mr Adewale Oshinowo, explained in a statement on Tuesday that this was 15 per cent above the threshold set by the Federal Government on the disbursement of refund to workers.

He disclosed that the state government received the sum of N17.3 billion from the Federal Government, being its last tranche of the Paris Club Refund.

“In line with the commitment of the Ibikunle Amosun administration to the welfare of workers in the state, their payment is being made a priority,” Oshinowo said.

“Therefore, with immediate effect, the sum of N11.8 billion from the refund will be expended on the workforce, including the local government while the balance of N5.5 billion will go into social services for the benefit of the entire indigenes of the state.”

The commissioner recalled that the state government had pledged to offset the entitlements of workers and also scale up the infrastructural development of the state during a town hall meeting held recently in the state.

He stressed that development was a fulfilment of the promise made to stakeholders across the 236 wards of the state.

Oshinowo added, “The Ibikunle Amosun-led administration places a high premium on the welfare of its worker. This informed its decision to increase the salaries of workers in 2012, which doubled the monthly wage bill.”

“It is also a testament that this government pays the highest salaries in the entire federation and has consistently paid workers’ salaries as due and when due,” he noted.

“This latest payment will no doubt boost the morale of the public service workforce and enhance its productivity.”

The commissioner, who described the civil service as the engine room of government, promised that the state government would clear all other arrears once the finances of the state returned on an even keel.