Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the reimbursement of funds expended on federal roads by some state governments.
The total sum to be reimbursed to five states is N148,141,987,161.25. Beneficiary are Cross River, N18,394,737,608.85; Ondo, N7,822,147,577.08; Osun, N2,468,938,876.78; Bayelsa, N38,040,564,783.40 and Rivers, N78,953,067,518.29.
The memo for the reimbursement was presented by Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, at the third virtual council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari inside the Council Chambers of the State House.
Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who briefed the media, said council has also warned there would be no reimbursement in future should any state government venture into such projects without the nod of the government at the center.
“You will recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation sent a very huge bill to the Federal Government asking for compensation for money that they have expended on federal roads. This prompted Mr. President to set up a committee to go and verify the claims of these 36 states, whether indeed these projects were actually constructed, were they completed, in line with the Federal Government standards.
“An inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the minister of works and housing also had ministers of education, transportation, finance, minister of state go works, DG BPP and permanent secretary cabinet office as members.
“At the end of that exercise, the committee recommended that the Federal Government should refund N550,364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that, yes indeed, the projects were completed and there were Federal Government roads. But the claims of five other states, Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun failed on the grounds that they did not do proper documentation and they committee felt they needed proper documentation.
“So the committee went back with a new terms of reference to ensure that the claims of the five states were in order, that is why the BPP is on the committee. So at the end of the exercise, the committee now reported that the five states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85, Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08, and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78. Bayelsa with five roads and one bridge is to get a refund of N38,040,564,783.40 and Rivers with three roads and three flyovers bridges is to get a refund of N78,953,067,518.29.”
Mohammed said the committees confirmed the roads and the bridges, that not only were they completed, they are in substantial good form, adding that some of the bridges and roads were built about 10 years ago.
“However, there is a caveat, the Federal Government will pay the states but however, henceforth, if any state that takes on Federal Government road, it will not be paid, they will not get any refund. Even if you want to pay from your own pocket, you will still need the permission of the Federal Government and it will be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.”
He said the modalities of refund is being worked out and payment will be made over a period of time.
Mohammed said 31 states were earlier paid over N500 billion.
Minister or Aviation, Heidi Sirika, said council approved N1.659,596,908.78 billion for consultancy services for pro-contract services for the design and construction of Abuja’s second runway with a completion period of 12 months.
He said the contract went to a consortium of consultants comprising two international and one Nigerian consultants.
He said the contract sum included seven per cent of VAT and an exchange rate for the dollar component of $360 to one.