By Jonathan Ugbal
The Cross River State Government among other states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has demanded a refund from the deductions for the Paris club loan findings by CrossRiverWatch reveal.
The total sum is $160, 936, 263.51 and when converted to the Naira with the parallel market exchange rate of 430 Naira per Dollar as at March 21, 2017 afternoon totals NGN85,296,219,660.30K (Eighty-Five billion, Two hundred and Ninety-Six million, Two hundred and Nineteen thousand, Six hundred and Sixty Naira and Thirty kobo).
This could also translate into NGN50,654,688,939.77 (Fifty billion, Six hundred and Fifty-Four million, Six hundred and Eighty-Eight thousand, Nine hundred and Thirty-Nine Naira and Seventy-Seven Kobo) if the official Central Bank rate of 314.75 Naira to the Dollar as at press time is followed.
The total sum demanded by the 36 states and the FCT is USD6.9 Billion.
The states based their requests on unaccounted deductions on “Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Report of the Reconciliation of State Governments’ External Debts, Vol. 1 (May 2007)”.
President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that the first tranche of the refund should be used to offset salary arrears, pension and gratuities.
The initial payment was greeted with controversy following the remittance of about N19billion from the N522.74 billion into two accounts of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) as commission to consultants reports The Nation.
The President is said to have decided to direct the release of some refund (first and second tranches) to states pending reconciliation of debt records to enable them pay outstanding salaries and pensions.
He took the decision after getting the report of a Presidential Committee which looked into all liabilities owed to all States of the Federation by the federal government.
The federal government had raised a verification and reconciliation team on the claims by states to end over deduction of loans which have crippled many states.
It was also learnt that the government has set guidelines for accessing the refund.
The federal government may— no thanks to the recession— issue long tenored instruments of between five and 10 years to states with valid claims to refund the money.
Cross River State had received the first tranche of the refund totaling NGN11Billion in January 2017 after submitting claims of over-deductions for external debt servicing between 1995 and 2002 to the federal government.
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