The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to release the outstanding Paris Club refund by November.
This, they said, is to enable them include it in their 2018 budget appropriation.
The governors made this demand during their meeting with the president at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday.
The delegation, led by Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state,also had Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom (South South), Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi (North West), Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara (North Central), deputy governor of Ebonyi, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe (South East), Mohammed Abubakar of Bauchi (North East) and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo (South West) in it.
The federal government had earlier disbursed a total of N760.17 billion in two tranches of N243.79 billion each to the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Yari said they were in the Villa to thank the president for the previous bailouts as well as the Paris Club refund.
He said: ”We are here on behalf of the 36 states governors and this is a result of the collective decision to see the president after the National Economic Council meeting last month.
”Our mission is simple: we are here to thank Mr. President for his concern about the state of the economy and for giving us several support ranging from bail out, restructuring our debts, Paris Club exit payment. We also told him that we think that it was because of his decision to grant us bailouts and pay the refund of the Paris Club that many Nigerians are criticising him, this is the reason why we got out of recession.”
Yari said the funds got to close to 200 million Nigerian citizens residing in respective states of the federation.
”This support is going down to them when you are taking the indices from the grassroots. We thanked the president for that and at the same time, as a father, we said to him, Mr. President, you remember that in 2016, we presented to you the numbers of Paris Club exit funds, which we agreed, and you directed we be paid 50 percent and the remaining 50 percent open to reconciliation.
”Reconciliation has been on since 2016, we are hoping that both the Debt Management Office (DMO), Ministry of Finance, Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), and our consultants are concluding this reconciliation by November.
”Therefore, we want to crave your indulgence so that we can factor the numbers in our 2018 budget, so that we can use it for projects and other recurrent spending according to the specification given by our respective House of Assemblies and that’s why we are here,” he said.