States to get N649bn Paris Club refund

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The 36 states of the Federation are about to receive fresh N649.43 billion from the Paris Club debt, as their final refund from the club.

This was disclosed by Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, who briefed the press on the activities of her ministry in Abuja on Thursday.

This amount has already been verified by the ministry as outstanding, according to the minister.

She did not state when the refund would be made to the states, but assured it would be done in no distant future.

As she put it “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 XCentral 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”.

The minister alluded to the Federal Government’s commitment to financing capital projects when she remarked the government had released a total of N2.079 trillion for execution of capital projects in the 2018 budget between June 2018 and May 14, 2019.

She gave no details as to the capital projects so funded.

In the 2018 budget put at N9.1 trillion, a total of N2.87 trillion is for capital expenditure, while N3.51 trillion was earmarked for recurrent expenditure, excluding debt servicing.

It is envisaged that government would strive to subsequently begin budget implementation in January and end in December as was previously the practice.

The minister gave this indication when she promised that the Executive Arm of Government would work with the 9th National Assembly to return the budget cycle to January – December, apparently to ease budget implementation.

She equally disclosed that the Presidential Committee on New Minimum Wage implementation has worked out the financial implications of implementing the new wages and submitted its report to President Buhari.

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