Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The Anambra State Government, on Wednesday, said it was yet to receive the refunds of the N43 billion owed it by the Federal Government for federal projects executed by the state.
The Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Chief Victor Umeh had, last weekend, disclosed that the Federal Government had approved N37.95 billion out of the N43 billion refund for Anambra State.
But on Tuesday, Sen. Uche Ekwunife, made a statement congratulating the President Muhammadu Buhari over the purported refunds of the funds expended in executing federal road projects in the state.
Reacting to the latest report, the state’s Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Ifeatu Onejeme said, “What has just happened is that the process has just begun. We are still far from receiving the funds.”
Onejeme said the Senate had merely approved a borrowing plan by the Federal Ministry of Finance, under which refunds would be facilitated.
He said, “The approved borrowing plan is a long way to actual receipt of the cash by the state.
“What will now happen is that the Debt Management Office (DMO), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Ministry of Finance will now work out details of the borrowing plan of the N37 billion approved, in order to determine the source of funding of the plan.
“The plan may also involve the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), if the instruments to be used will involve them.”
The Commissioner explained that it was the suggestion of Anambra that since there were no immediate cash for liquidation of the debt; the FG could pay through the floating of bonds or promissory notes.
He said, “With payments through bonds or promissory notes, the state has the option of waiting for maturity of instrument and goes through a group of commercial banks to choose the option of discounting the debt for cash.
“As it stands now, the receipt of the cash will depend on how fast the DMO, the CBN, the Finance and SEC work hard at fast-tracking the process. It is premature, therefore to talk about cash refunds to Anambra.
“Those praising the Federal Government for the purported refunds should seize deceiving Ndi Anambra that the debt has been paid. There is still a long way to go.”
The debts, an accumulation from Governor Chris Ngige, through Governor Peter Obi and Governor Willie Obiano was actually N47 billion, but a series of reconciliations with the Federal Ministry of Works and Finance, brought it down to N43 billion.