From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
FORMER governor of old Kaduna State and National Chairman, Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Alhaji Balarabe Musa has said that the financial bailout for some state governments by the Federal Government amounted to a fraudulent practice, capable of wrecking the nation’s economy.
Speaking in an interview with Sunday Sun on the bailout issue, Musa said it did not make sense for the Federal Government to be pumping money to such states without asking them to account for the first leg of the bail- out while workers were still not being paid their wages.
He said the Federal Government should investigate why such states could not pay salaries after receiving the bailout money, adding that any state found guilty should not go unpunished. He said, “This stupid thing called bailout for states is a fraud. The form the bailout is taking in Nigeria is a fraud. We are on the verge of destroying the banking system, taking into account the amount of money given out for the bailout.
“Just few months ago, or at least a year ago, states misbehaved so much to the extent that some of them couldn’t pay salaries, which is the basic welfare of workers. These states could not pay salaries and wages.
“Now government is giving out money to states to pay salaries again without taking steps to ensure that the money will not be wasted like before. For example, government is supposed to enquire or investigate how it came out that state governments could not pay workers salaries, and punish those that were responsible.
“The payment of the bailout is a condition for doing that, but instead of the government doing that, it decided to give them the money. And the states have stolen the money again. And government is thinking of giving them another money.
“Federal Government should do something about the mismanaged bail out, otherwise it will affect the economic health of the nation.
“This bailout should be investigated, and those states found guilty should be punished. “Again, under the Nigerian condition, instead of giving out the whole money to state governments to steal again, the Federal Government should divide the money into three. “One third should go to agricultural bank to give loans to small farmers with three percent interest.
This will boost agricultural production, and it will empower people, one-third should go to commerce and industry, to give loans to small businessmen, with three percent interest.
This will boost commerce and industry. Small-scale industries will function and exist. Another one-third of the money should go into payment of salaries and wages.”