From Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Abuja
The Federal Government has opened up on how N5.03 trillion and $3.4 billion have been disbursed as salary bailout, budget support facility, among others, to states since 2015.
The details provided by government, yesterday, as at September 2015, showed N445,668,202,513.97 was disbursed as salary bailout. It was done on condition that beneficiary states would refund in 20 years.
The data indicated that only Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Jigawa, Lagos and Yobe states did not collect the salary bailout.
Ministers of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, and her colleague in the Ministry of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed these at the sixth edition of a media briefing to highlight President Muhammadu Buhari’s achievements from 2015-2023.
Said Ahmed: “Mr. President approved salary bailout for the states…he approved budget support facility. Nigeria is not broke. Do we have enough? No! We continue to generate revenue on a monthly basis and these revenues are distributed at FAAC. Again, to continue with the tradition of transparency we actually disclosed how much is distributed on a monthly basis to the various tiers of government.
“Again, in my presentation, I said we have witnessed a significant increase in non-oil revenue. While oil revenue is underperforming because of criminality, recently NNPC has reported that has been curtailed and we are already begining to see the pick up in the production volumes which is that more revenue has begin to come to the Federation.
“But it is not enough to cover all we need and that is why in the budget we have to access in the budget. Our borrowings have been practical. They are sustainable, they are guarded by debt management strategies. There is a debt management board that is chaired by the Vice President, the Minister of Justice, Finance and other ministers as well as the debt management office. The debt management is being followed religiously. Our debt is sustainable: 33 percent to GDP. We are still the lowest with countries that plate our comparatives.
“But again, I say we do have a revenue problem despite the increase in revenue because our performance of 8% of GDP, the revenue outturn is not enough. We are a population of 200million people. We have a lot of demand on government both states and federal to provide service. But our consumption level is low so we have to keep working to find out how we can incentivise and enhance the business environment so that small business enterprises that should be largest employer of labour and should be the largest contributors to GDP continue to grow. It is for that reasons we have reduced income taxes for the smallest businesses. And also reduce the taxes for medium businesses from 30 percent to 22 percent so that they will trade to revenues in their businesses to stabilise their businesses, especially during COVID-19we did not want them to disengaging people but to stabilise and to grow.”
Other financial support from the Federal Government to the states, between 2015 and April 2022 included N340 billion as Excess Crude Loan, disbursed in October 2015 (to be repaid over a 20-year period). All the states benefitted except Osun and Lagos states. Four years later, in October 2019, states got N610,299,391,376.85 as budget support facility, to be refunded over another 20-year period. This time around, all states benefitted except Lagos state.
In December 2016, July 2017 and September 2018, $2,673,657,066.17 was refunded to all the states as Paris Club debt refund. All states benefitted and the refund was made in three instalments.
Between 2018 and 2021, there was an outright payment of $750 billion to states, through the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) programme for results financing.
A total of N600 billion was withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account for payment of subsidy to states (2009-2019). It was done in April 2022. According to the minister, payment is ongoing.
Oil-producing states got N1,978,422,189,787.76 as 13 percent derivation refund while ecological support to states gulped N204, 244,595,861.26 while support from the Development of Natural Resources Fund to states stood at N118,416,052,889.38 and another support from the Stabilisation Fund was N37 billion. States got outright payment of N50 billion as COVID-19 relief funds from the Federal Government.
The minister explained that N10 billion and N5 billion were released to Lagos and Kano states, respectively, while others, including the Federal Capital Territory got N1 billion each.
On the other hand, she disclosed that N648,821,139,047 were promissory notes issued to states for refund of federal roads.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the information minister insisted that no administration in Nigeria’s history has financially supported states more than the Buhari’s government.
“When the administration assumed office in 2015, at least, 27 states could not pay salaries. Imagine what would have happened if Mr. President had not offered a helping hand, without discrimination, to the states? But for Mr. President, most of the states would have been plunged into serious socio-economic crisis, with dire consequences for the country. Please note that the support to the states came at a time when national resources had dwindled drastically, and also at a time of competing needs in many areas, including infrastructure, security, global pandemic, etc. You will better understand the enormity and importance of the support offered to the states by the Buhari administration, after today’s presentation…”