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$2.1b refund will kill states’ economy – Emefiele

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CENTRAL Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has described the call for $2.1 billion refund to states as a medication capable of killing its patient.

  Emefiele stated this while fielding questions from newsmen on the issue in Lagos, last night.

  According to him, acceding to the request to halt the planned deduction of $2.1 billion budget support loan from allocations due to the states is loaded with unhealthy financial auguries to economies of the states.

  “States will collapse if this step is taken. The larger picture is that states won’t be able to pay salaries. Workers will go on strike and everything will be paralysed”, a governor, speaking on behalf of his colleagues,” he said.

  This, he said, underscored the call on state governments to commence repayment of the Budget Support Loans offered them by the Federal Government.

  But some governors were said to be shocked by the decision.

  He spoke in reaction to the claim by Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki that the Federal Government printed about N60 billion to augment the March revenue before it was shared by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) to Federal, States and Local Governments.

  But from the fact-sheet released by Progressive Governors Forum, the total distributable revenue for March was N596.94 billion.

  The forum said due to the shortfall in gross statutory revenues compared to the previous month “an augmentation was made in the sum of N8.65 billion from the Forex Equalisation Fund Account.

  According to the group, augmentation brought the total distributable revenue to N605.59 billion.

  A governor, who spoke in confidence, said they have reached out to Emefiele to soft pedal.

  “We have already reached out to the CBN governor to stay action on the refund of the $2.1billion. It was apparent that the position of the CBN was a retaliatory action, following Obaseki’s claim. Emefiele was obviously angry because Obaseki is at a vantage position to know the truth. At the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) level, Obaseki and Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna are in charge of the committee liaising with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and others. They have the vital indices and they have full grasp of what is at stake. Their contributions have also been helpful to the government and the NGF members. The anger is based on the fact that Obaseki as an insider should not be Mr. Clean. It is not in the interest of all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to allow the controversy to linger,” he said.

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