We are building roads in every states of the federation – Fashola

Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works housing, says he is in doubt if there is any state in the country where roads are being constructed.

While defending the 2017 budget for works before the senate committee on Monday, Fashola said there was a possibility of the ministry getting more funds before the 2016 budget expires.

He explained that the ministry received only 53 percent of N300 billion appropriated to it in the 2016.

“It is not the question of lack of capacity but the question of how much revenue the country earns and how they can give to us to pursue our work,” he said.

“We received only 53 per cent on the allocation; there is the possibility that we will get more before the current budget fully winds down.

“I doubt that there is any state in the federation where there is no road project going on, whether it is our own direct project or constituency project.”

On his part, Kabiru Gaya, the committee chairman said it was the work of the national assembly to appraise budget proposals sent to it.

“The budget is a draft, we will do our work. The national assembly could not have been said to have padded the budget.

“By law, it has constitutional rights to appraise the budget proposal sent to it. It will therefore be a misnomer in the process of considering the budget to be seen as padding.

“We must explore more resourceful ways of delivering quality service in this sector. We must consider alternative sources of funding like public-private partnership and foreign investors to support the budget in the future.”

Buhari Asks States To Clear Workers’ Outstanding Salaries With Paris Club Debt Refund

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on state governors to use at least 25 per cent of the refunds made to them from excess deductions for external debt service of Nigeria’s Paris Club debt to clear outstanding workers’ entitlements.

A statement by his media aide, Mr. Garba Shehu revealed that the president approved N552.74bn to be paid in batches to all the states, which were entitled to the refund.

They are, however, expected to get 25 per cent of their approved sums in the first instance before this week ends. About 33 states are affected.

Shehu said that the refunds arose from claims by the states that they had been overcharged in deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002.

He said, in a directive through the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the president said the issue of workers’ benefits, particularly salaries and pensions, must not be allowed to continue and should be handled with urgency.

The statement read: “When he assumed office last year, the president declared an emergency on unpaid salaries, following the discovery that 27 out of the 36 states had fallen behind in payments to their workers, in some cases for up to a year.

“Following this, a bailout loan was issued to the states twice, with a first batch of about N300 billion given to them in 2015 in the form of soft loans.

“The administration also got the Debt Management Office to restructure their commercial loans of over N660 billion and extended the life span of the loans.

“Because this did not succeed in pulling many of the states out of distress, the federal government this year gave out a further N90 billion to 22 states as yet another bailout under very stringent conditions.

“President Buhari is of the opinion that the payment of salaries and pensions must be given priority to save both serving and retired workers and their families from distress.”

A recent report by BudgIT showed that of the 36 states in the country, only Lagos, Rivers and Enugu, were capable of meeting their obligation to their workers.

Credit: thisdaylive

Only three states can fund their budgets – NEITI

With the exception of three states – Lagos, Delta and Rivers – the remaining 33 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) may not be able to fund their annual budgets, the latest quarterly review on national revenue disbursements to the federal, states and local governments prepared by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has disclosed.

This is because of the prolonged drop in revenue accruing to the federation mainly from the oil and gas sector.

Released yesterday in Abuja, the document explained that while revenue from the country’s national earnings had dropped, and states expected to augment their shares with internally generated revenues (IGR), only Rivers, Lagos and Delta States can boast of their clear abilities to earn enough IGRs to close the expected revenue gaps and fund their budgets.

It said the federal government, states and local government areas got a total of N1.534 trillion as allocations from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for the months of July, August and September 2016.

According to it, a breakdown of the allocations for the third quarter of 2016 showed that the federal government received N697.9 billion, the states got N512.66 billion, while the local government areas collected N324.31 billion.

It, however, said there was a major revenue spike in July when the three tiers of government shared N546.62 billion as against the N304.91 billion they shared in June, an increase of 79 per cent.

Considering that most states depend on FAAC to fund their annual budgets, the NEITI document observed that lower monthly disbursements would likely impact the budget implementation of most states of the federation in very negative ways.

It said: “Although the states also have revenue inflows from IGR, the report contends that, it is highly unlikely that IGR would be sufficient to offset the huge gap between expenditure and revenue in many states, with perhaps only the exception of three states – Lagos, Rivers, and Delta.

“The dwindling revenue from the petroleum sector, which has led to substantially lower disbursements from FAAC, will limit the ability of states to effectively execute their budgets,” the NEITI report explained.

Buhari Approves N522.74bn Reimbursement For States Over PCD Over-deduction

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the payment of N522.74 billion as reimbursement for states who were over-charged when Nigeria took a loan from the Paris Club, the London and other offshore lenders.

While Nigeria reached a final agreement for debt relief with the Paris Club in October 2005, some States had already been overcharged.

The Spokesman of Finance Minister, Festus Akanbi who revealed this yesterday in Abuja said the excess deductions also represent external debt service that arose between 1995 and 2002 as a result of First Line Charge deductions from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations.

He said work had since commenced to resolve each State Government’s claim, even as he added that the exercise is expected to take approximately 12 months.

He revealed that the first batch of N153.01 billion was currently being processed for release to 14 State Governments.

He said: “The Federal Government has reached a conditional agreement to pay 25% of the amounts claimed subject to a cap of N14.5 Billion to any given State. Balances due thereafter, will be revisited when fiscal conditions improve. The exercise will be thorough, including a complete reconstruction of records dating back to the period in question.

“In the interim however, State Governors have continued to appeal for release of payment on the grounds of fairness because some States had already received refunds under previous administrations. Mr. President’s overriding concern is for the welfare of the Nigerian people considering the fact that many States are owing salaries and pension, causing considerable hardship.

Therefore, to ensure compliance with the directive that a minimum of 50% of any amount disbursed is dedicated to this, funds will be credited to an auditable account from which payments to individual creditors would be made. Where possible, such payments would be made to BVN linked accounts and verified”, Akanbi explained.

On the request by State Governments for a refund of amounts owed by the Federal Government, Akanbi said President Buhari directed that claims be subject to verification by the Debt Management Office, stressing that a team was established and given the mandate to scrutinise claims and reconcile with available records.

“The brief for the team was also extended to include a review of interim payments made under previous administrations”, he stated.

The Minister’s Spokesman also added that reconciliation of states’ claims was ongoing, even as he noted that there was a possibility the final outcome might show an under or overstatement of claims.

“To this end, an undertaken has been signed by State Governors, declaring that in the event the amount already paid exceeds the verified claim, the surplus would be deducted directly from the State’s monthly FAAC allocations”, he said.

Akanbi maintained that the release of these funds was intended to support the fiscal stimulus programme of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to provide direct stimulus through government spending.

“It is particularly aimed at boosting demand at consumer level and reversing the slowdown in economic activity”, he said.




FG set to pay N720bn debt to states – Dogara

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, has disclosed plans by the Federal Government to pay debts owed the 36 states by paying them N720bn with each state collecting N20bn a piece.

Dogara said the money would be used for the provision of infrastructure by the states.

Many states had in the past undertaken to rehabilitate failing Federal Government infrastructure in their domain, especially road projects with the understanding that they would be repaid by the latter.

A statement on Sunday by the Speaker’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Iliya Habila, quoted Dogara as making the disclosure during a visit to the Igwe of Ogwuekpele, His Royal Highness, Valentine Onyema-Ogidiga.

Dogara visited the monarch in his Ogwuekpele palace in Anambra State.

It read in part, “Regards to debts being owed to states, I can announce that very very soon, a chunk of money will be given to states.

“It is being processed and I know that no state will get less than N20bn from the money that is coming.

“That will be something substantial in the hands of the governors. Those that are spirited, I believe they will be able to translate that money into development so that they can support the diversification (agenda) of the Federal Government.”

The statement explained that Dogara was responding to complaints made by the monarch that social infrastructure in the state was decaying and needed urgent funds for resuscitation.

It added, “Without capital, you cannot invest; so these are the two things that this government is devoted to. By doing so, state governments can have enough capital; they will have the needed infrastructure for the establishment of functional industries for the evacuation of either solid minerals or agricultural products. And we know that agriculture has the potential of providing employment for the majority of our people.

“And I can assure you that when we talk about diversification, it is not just on paper. Recently, there are efforts by the government to source money so that it can begin in earnest the putting up of infrastructure; functional road networks, intermodal and multimodal connectivity of our transportation system and building airports, railways and integrating them with land transportation.

“These are the things that are on the agenda and then giving citizens access to cheap capital that they can use to better their lives and start business and provide employment that will earn us foreign exchange.”

The Igwe had earlier appealed to the Federal Government to support Anambra State in the building of infrastructure.

He said infrastructure would help farmers to move farm produce easily from the villages to urban markets in cities like Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi and beyond the state.

FAAC: See what States got in September.

Breakdown of N516bn Allocations shared by the 36 States, Osun got N868.9m in September, 2016

The breakdown in a report obtained from a source at the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation in Abuja on Sunday.

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting in September, federal, states and local governments shared N516 billion as against the N530 billion that was shared in August. The breakdown after some deductions l which included bailout funds were made is as follow:

Abia : N3.01 billion
Adamawa : N3.14 billion
Anambra : N3.43 billion,
Bayelsa: N7.6 billion,
Bauchi: N3.52 billion,
Benue : N3.37 billion,
Borno : N3.9 billion,
Cross River: N2.04 billion,
Delta: N7.39 billion,
Ekiti: N2.16 billion,
Edo: N2.54 billion,
Ebonyi: N2.99 billion,
Enugu : N3.34 billion,
Gombe : N2.61 billion,
Imo : N2.97 billion
Jigawa: N3.82 billion,
Kaduna: N4.23 billion,
Kano: N5.2 billion,
Katsina: N4 billion,
Kebbi : N3.36 billion
Kogi : N3.39 billion.
Kwara : N2.77 billion.
Lagos N7.92 billion,
Nassarawa : N2.92 billion,
Niger : N3.49 billion
Ogun : N2.16 billion,
Ondo : N4.18 billion,
Osun : N868.9 million,
Oyo : N3.53 billion,
Plateau : N2.31 billion,
Rivers: N9.05 billion
Sokoto: N3.62 billion,
Taraba: N2.89 billion
Yobe : N3.29 billion,
Zamfara: N2.58 billion.

The amount distributed included the Gross Statutory revenue, Value Added Tax, exchange gain, N35 billion excess Petroleum Profit Tax and 13 percent derivation to oil producing states.

The oil producing states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.

The report also revealed that the Federal Capital Territory got N4.7 billion from the Federal Government’s share of the distributable revenue in September.

Niger State To Establish Special Schools To Train Teachers

Niger State government has taken bold steps towards boosting education and also making the teaching profession more attractive by endorsing the establishment of three Special secondary schools to train students who have passion for teaching and ready to be professional Teachers.

The Special Secondary schools will be located in each of the three Senatorial Zones of the state and they will be mainly for graduates of junior secondary schools who really want to take teaching as a profession and ready to pursue such ambition.

Governor Abubakar Sani Bello who disclosed this in Minna during an interactive session with the committee on Revival of Teachers Education in Niger state yesterday noted that most people in the teaching profession now see it as a last resort and not really as a Profession hence the poor educational standard in the country.

“Teaching is a career you must be passionate about. The profession should not be seen as last resort for jobless people. This special school will be built basically for those that have passion for teaching. Our aim is to catch them young and motivate them, prepare them and make them proud professionals.

“Like the Nigeria Military School, Zaria where all students except very few are prepared for career in the military, the students of this special schools will be psychologically prepared for teaching profession while they also prepare for their WAEC and NECO examinations.

“To this end, competitive entrance will be conducted for JSS III pupils who have passion foe teaching. The best two from each of the 274 wards will be admitted to the schools in the three Zones of the state

The Governor said at the completion of their studies, such successful students will now go back and teach in their communities thereby gradually bringing back the past glories and standard of education back to the doorstep of the people.

Earlier, the chairperson of the committee, Hajiya Dije Bala said the committee recommended the establishment of a Teachers Development Institute to conduct regular training and re-training of teachers as well as those in other profession but want to take teaching as a career.

The Institute she explained further will provide a platform for qualified teachers to have refresher course that will update them in modern teaching methodology and practice.

She lamented public perception of teaching profession and urged all levels of government to give more priority to the Profession and make it more attractive by way of packaging special welfare for them.

“I Have Found My Missing Original Certificates” – Obaseki

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, on Wednesday said that he has found the original copies of his academic credentials, which had earlier been declared missing in a sworn affidavit.

Obaseki had, in the said affidavit submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission for the September 10 election, reportedly stated that his academic documents got missing while he was moving his office from one place to another.

The development had on Monday attracted criticisms from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, which described his reasons for not being in possession of the certificates as “flimsy” and

However, Obaseki, who spoke during an interactive session organised by civil societies for governorship candidates in Benin, noted that though he had no reason to search for the documents, he had to provide the photocopies and swear to an affidavit for the election.

He explained, “I have found them. The truth is that I have not had any reason to look for them in the last 25 years. I know that I kept them somewhere in a safe box and I had photocopies.

“When I needed them for the exercise, I could not find them. So, I swore to an affidavit that I cannot find the originals.

He said that the photocopies of the documents were certified by the issuing institutions.

Obaseki added, “I took the photocopies to the institutions that issued them and they certified the photocopies.

“So when the whole controversy started raging, my cousin called me from New York and said, ‘But your originals are here. I said, ‘Please, send them to me now.”

The APC candidate also reiterated that his administration would provide security and manpower necessary to attract investors.

FG Places States, LGAs On Red Alert Over Fresh Polio Outbreak

The federal government has put states and local governments on red alert over the fresh cases of wild polio virus (WPV) in Borno State. Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole in a statement yesterday called on states and local governments to redouble their efforts in safeguarding their territories from importation of the virus. He said they can also do so by providing the required leadership and ensuring accountability among healthcare workers and other stakeholders.
The minister who confirmed the outbreak of the disease said that itaffected two children from Gwoza and Jere local government areas of the state.

Adewole said the discovery and confirmation of the outbreak was as a result of strengthened surveillance due to improved accessibility which has been made possible by the recent military action in liberating more communities in the North-eastern part of the country.
He said the detection of children paralysed by polio was also a reminder that the country needs to remain vigilant and immunise all eligible children with polio vaccine until the disease is completely eradicated worldwide.
The minister also directed the deployment of a national emergency response team, comprising government and partners to Borno State for immediate polio vaccination campaign, targeting eligible children to prevent the spread of the virus locally and internationally.
As an immediate response, about one million children are to be immunised in four local government areas of Borno. Children in adjoining states of Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe will also be immunised bringing the number to about five million in the four states.

Credit: dailytrust

Ekwueme, Gana, Others Advocate True Federalism, Power Devolution To States

Dr Alex Ekwueme, Second Republic Vice-President, former Minister of Information, Prof. Jerry Gana and others, have reiterated their call for true federalism and devolution of powers to the states.

They said that restructuring and resource control by regions was a panacea to end acts of uprising across the country.

Ekwueme spoke in Enugu on Sunday at the 17th Annual Convention of the Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) with the theme `Nigeria, still in pursuit of true fiscal federalism’.

The former vice-president, who chaired the event, said that the British colonialists had earlier divided the country to enable each region control and manage its resources without interference.

“The British colonial masters divided the country in such a way that every region will operate within its constitution,” he said.

The guest speaker and former Information Minister, Prof. Jerry Gana, said that the key solution to Nigeria’s problem was through true federalism and devolution of powers to states.

“True fiscal federalism is the only form of association that will allow peace and stability in the country and each region should be allowed to manage its resources the way they want it,” Gana said.

He noted that the formula for allocating revenue made the Federal Government to get richer while the states operated like beggars.

“States should be allowed to manage its resources to enable them govern their people the way they want and allocate some percentage to the Federal Government.

“Government should not be far from the people and the federating unit should be made strong to meet the needs of the people,” he said.

Gana recommended continuous dialogue and the implementation of the resolutions of national confab by the government as the only means the recent agitation and other national demand could be handled.

A Yoruba leader, Chief Ayo Adeabayo, said that the various acts of political instability in the country were because the constitution under which the country was governed was not good for heterogeneous country like Nigeria.

“To put a stop at the various uprising in the country such as Niger Delta Avengers, MASSOB, IPOB etc, our constitution needs to be changed to allow for restructuring of the country under true federalism.

In her remarks, a Niger Delta Activist, Ms Annkio Briggs, condemned the blasphemy killing of a woman, Bridget Agbamihe, in Kano as well as herdsmen attacks in Nimbo, Enugu State and other parts of the country.

Briggs condemned the destruction of oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta, alleging that those avengers were not from Ijaw but Somalia.

Earlier, the founder of IYM, Mr Elliot Uko, said that the event was to honour prominent Nigerians who had contributed to the growth and development of the country.

He said Igbo youths was committed to building a stronger Nigeria and reduced the tension in the region, adding that true federalism would help the country to grow and prosper.

Highlight of the event was presentation of awards to Gana, Adebayo, Nnamdi Kalu and Briggs, for their struggle for peaceful Nigeria.

The event was attended by former governors of Anambra, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife and Mr Peter Obi, as well as Mrs Maria Okwor, Dr Arthur Nwankwo, and some students from tertiary institutions in the South-East.



Senate Opposes Inclusion Of Taraba In Boko Haram Affected States

The Senate yesterday unanimously opposed the inclusion of Taraba among the states requiring special attention as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency.

The resolution was taken when a motion tagged, “ Urgent need to flush out Boko Haram insurgents reassembling in Taraba and halt the ongoing silent genocide in the state”  by Senator Emmanuel Bwacha (PDP, Taraba South).

Moving the motion, Bwacha expressed concern that insurgents fleeing military onslaught were relocating to Taraba State where a notorious Boko Haram kingpin, Kabiru Sokoto, was recently arrested.

He said after relocating to Taraba, the insurgents changed tactics and were parading as herdsmen.

Contributing to the debate, Senator Abubakar Kyari(APC, Borno North) said the motion may lead to stereotype.

“The motion may lead to stereotype, nobody wants insurgency and when people are relocating from a place to another as a result of insurgency, what we need to do is to intensify intelligence gathering to understand those who are unfriendly and those who are in for their livelihood, “ he said.

Also contributing, Senator Barnabas Gemade (APC, Benue) said  there was need to separate criminality from genuine struggle for economic empowerment.

The senate called on its relevant committees to visit the affected states and  IDP camps to ascertain the gravity of the activities of insurgents.

Credit: dailytrust

Jonathan’s ADC States Role In N10b Gift For PDP Chiefs

Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s detained ex-Aide-de-Camp (ADC) Col.  Ojogbane Adegbe has passed the buck on the N10billion gift for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) delegates.

He has told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to ask Dr. Jonathan’s former Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa to account for the cash, a source said yesterday.

The ADC said when the suitcases containing the cash were brought as messages for the President, he merely handed them over to Dudafa.

He said military law forbids him from opening any message meant for the President, unless otherwise directed.

Also, one of the Army officers being questioned over the $2.1 billion arms purchase scandal, Col. N. Ashinze , the former Special Military Assistant to the ex-NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), is stranded as he could not resume in his new posting as the nation’s Military Attache to the Nigerian Embassy in Germany.Although Col. Ashinze has been released from EFCC custody and restricted to the Officers Mess, there was anxiety yesterday  that he might be dropped from the foreign mission.

Although Col. Ashinze has been released from EFCC custody and restricted to the Officers Mess, there was anxiety yesterday  that he might be dropped from the foreign mission.

Also yesterday, it was learnt that the embattled ex-Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has been linked with the ongoing probe of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Air Chief Marshal Badeh was moved to Lagos last week as part of the investigation of NIMASA.

The EFCC is believed to be tidying up some loose ends in its investigation of military officers suspected to have been involved in the $2.1b phoney arms deals.

The N10billion withdrawn from the oil block account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for PDP delegates to its nomination convention has been a knotty issue because it was based on the instruction of the former President, according to a source close to the investigation.

The source said: “The ADC has spoken with investigators. He said when the suit cases containing the N10billion were brought as messages for the ex-President, he did not open them but he handed over the items to SA Domestic Affairs.

“He said as ADC, the military law forbids him from opening any message meant for the President, unless directed by the C-I-C.

“So, it is only the SA Domestic Affairs, who has sneaked out of the country, who will need to provide the list of beneficiaries. This is the status of the case.

“If Dudafa does not show up, we may declare him wanted in connection with the N10billion cash or seek the court’s permission to attach his property.

“We are exploring mutual legal assistance with some countries to fish out Dudafa wherever he is hiding abroad.”

Col. Dasuki said he handed over the N10billion given to the delegates to Dudafa and the ADC.

The ex-NSA  opened up in his Statement of Witness/Accused Person which has been filed in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory(FCT)

Credit: Nation

TSA: CBN Unveils Operational Guidelines For States

State governments will soon begin to enjoy the benefits of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday unveiled guidelines for the operation of TSA by state governments.

The federal government has been able to consolidate its account with a balance of N2.2 trillion through the policy.

The TSA, according to the CBN, would be a major component of financial and treasury management reforms to be undertaken by the states.

The new circular posted on the Central Bank’s website yesterday explained that the Central Bank introduced the guidelines for states in exercise of its powers, as provided in the CBN Act 2007, Section 47, sub section 2(2d).

“The objective of this guideline is to provide state governments with a clear framework to support their successful implementation of the TSA initiative based on standardized banking arrangements, operational processes and IT infrastructure,” it added.

An essential requirement for operating the TSA by states is that government agencies are not to operate any bank account under any guise outside the purview and oversight of the treasury.

In addition, the Central Bank explained that, under the policy, the consolidation of government cash resources should be comprehensive and encompass all government cash resources, both budgetary and extra-budgetary.

The banking sector regulator listed the two TSA models to include: The main TSA and associated ledger sub-accounts (where they exist) are to be maintained in a single banking institution; or the main TSA maintained in a single banking institution and associated zero balance ledger sub-accounts (ZBAs) (where they exist) are maintained in other institutions from where balances are swept daily to the main TSA in CBN or the appointed main TSA hosting financial institution.

“Each state government shall select any TSA model of its choice. The choice of a TSA model shall be informed and guided by the availability of clear operational processes and basic technology infrastructure that supports the implementation of the model of choice.

“Each state government shall inform the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria of its decision to introduce the TSA scheme, detailing: the state’s preferred TSA model (banking structure) and level of preparedness to commence, operate and support the scheme, which shall include, but not limited to, project organisation and resourcing, operational process workflow, available technology infrastructure, etc.

“Each state government shall maintain contractual agreement(s) with parties involved in the design, delivery and ongoing support of its TSA scheme. Such agreement shall clearly define the terms and the roles and responsibilities of the state government and the relevant parties,” it added.

Credit: Leadership

States May Get Broke Again– Masari

At the backdrop of expected significant drop in revenue accruable to the three tires of government from the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, state governments may need fresh bailout arrangements as none of them have indicated plans to rejig budgets in line with the merging fiscal realities.

To underscore this development Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari said last week that some state governments in the country may find it difficult to pay workers salaries in the next three to six months as a result of the current economic hardship occasioned by falling oil prices.

The governor said this at the foundation laying ceremony for construction of three blocks of 12 classrooms, office block and a computer centre at Kadandani Community Secondary School in Rimi Local Government Area of the state by Continental Computers. “In three to six months time, some states will find it difficult to pay salaries due to fall in the price of oil in the market,” he stated in Hausa language.

Some of the state governments are already complaining that the recently settled issue of minimum wage may be revisited following the weakening of the revenue base. Some states are indicating that they would not review the minimum wage downward but they may be forced to retrench to reduce recurrent expenditure within available resources, otherwise the workers would be owed indefinitely.

Credit: Vanguard

WAEC To Announce Names Of Debtor States

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the West African Examinations Council will today (Monday) release the list of its debtor states, our correspondent has gathered.

The council will also announce the release of the May/June 2015 West African Senior School Certificate Examination.

The WAEC Head of National Office, Lagos, Mr. Charles Eguridu, at a briefing in Lagos two weeks ago, had threatened to withhold results of candidates whose states were indebted to the council.

The debtor states, which Eguridu claimed were 19, owed the council N4bn examination registration fees.

According to him, the huge debts were frustrating the operations of the council.

The HNO, who refused to name the debtor states, promised that the council would make the list public after two weeks if they failed to offset the debts.

But a source in the council told our correspondent on Sunday that with the planned release of the May/ June 2015 WASSCE results on Monday, (today), the council had no option but the expose the debtor states.

She said, “The HNO promised to announce names of the defaulting states while releasing the results, so the expectation is normal. It will not be out of place if he makes the announcement on Monday. Except if he wants to tell the public that the states had cleared the debts.”

Unpaid Salaries Sum N110bn In States

No fewer than 12 of the 36 states of the federation are facing difficult times as the salaries they owe their workers are approximately well over N110bn. This represents the salaries being owed by government of 10 of the states of the federation. They are Osun, Rivers, Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Plateau, Benue, and Bauchi states.

The 36 state governors, who met during the week in Abuja under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum for the second time after the May 29 inauguration of the new government, expressed their concern over the issue.

The situation, according to Saturday PUNCH investigation, has been giving some of the governors’ aides serious concern as they are also being owed salaries and allowances.

The governors had resolved to meet with the President to demand the refund of the money spent on executing Federal Government projects in their respective states to enable them to pay their workers.

Read More: punchng

States’ Debts Block Access To N55bn UBE Fund

About N55bn of the Universal Basic Education scheme has become inaccessible for 18 months by 27 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory because of their failure to contribute their matching grants to the scheme.

The Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Alhaji Dikko Suleiman, in a letter dated June 9, 2015, a copy of which was obtained by The PUNCH on Tuesday, stated that only nine states had been up-to-date in the contribution of their matching grants to the scheme.

The letter was addressed to the law firm of human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), in response to his request for the information under the Freedom of Information Act.

An appendix attached to Suleiman’s response to Falana listed the nine states that had been accessing the UBE fund as Adamawa, Anambra, Borno, Imo, Gombe, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Taraba. It revealed that Ebonyi was the most-indebted state with its last contribution to the scheme made in 2010.

The letter also revealed that Abia, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Ekiti states were among the 14 states which last contributed to the scheme in 2012. Others included Enugu, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo and Oyo.

Other 12 states which last contribution was in 2013 are Bauchi, Bayelsa, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Osun, Plateau, Rivers, Yobe, Zamfara and the FCT.

Under section 2 of the Universal Basic Education Act 2004, the Federal Government is expected to contribute two per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government to the scheme while the state governments are expected to contribute a matching grant of the same amount before they can access the fund.

Read Morepunchng

CBN Explains Why States Can’t Pay Salaries

The dwindling resources of states and local governments suffered a 30.6 per cent fall from federation account allocation in April 2015 when compared with what the states got in the same period last year.

Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Economic Report for the month of April said that the total statutory allocation to the state governments stood at N153.45 billion in April 2015. This was 30.6 and 22.9 per cent below the 2014 monthly budget estimate and the level in the preceding month, respectively. The dwindling revenue of federal, state and local government is as a result of falling oil prices.

Giving insight into the poor financial status of states which depends on monthly federal allocation, the CBN report for April said: “The breakdown showed that at N119.27 billion or 77.7 per cent of the total, state governments’ receipt from the Federation Account was below both the 2014 monthly budget estimate and the level in the preceding month by 29.7 and 30.3 per cent, respectively.

“At N34.17 billion or 22.3 per cent of the total, receipts from the VAT Pool Account was below the monthly budget estimate by 33.4 per cent, but exceeded the level in the preceding month by 22.2 per cent. Total receipts by the local governments from the Federation Account and VAT Pool Account stood at N88.91 billion at end-April 2015.

“This was lower than both the budget estimate and the level in the preceding month by 33.8 and 19.7 per cent, respectively. Of this amount, receipts from the Federation Account were N64.99 billion (73.1 per cent of the total), while the VAT Pool Account accounted for N23.92 billion (26.9 per cent of the total).

“At N735.07 billion, estimated federally-collected revenue in April 2015, was lower than the monthly budget estimate by 9.8 per cent. It was, however, higher than the receipt in the preceding month by 35.8 per cent. The decline in estimated federally-collected revenue (gross) relative to the monthly budget estimate was attributable, largely, to the shortfall in receipts from oil revenue during the review month

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State Governments Are Responsible For Power Epilepsy – Yemi Oke

A Senior Lecturer in the faculty of law at the University of Lagos (Unilag) and the Author, Nigeria Electricity Law and Regulation, has accused the state governments of being responsible for the current state of power in Nigeria.

Mr Yemi Oke, said during a daily breakfast show, Sunrise Daily on Channels Television on Tuesday, that power is a concurrent issue and not an exclusive item according to the constitution.

He said that the constitution states that a state has the authority to generate, transmit and distribute power in areas not covered by the national grid, and to set up regulatory bodies to manage electricity within the state.

“The regulatory environment is somehow skewed in favour of the Federal Government, which should not be,” Mr Oke said.

He further pointed that electricity can be generated according to the climatic and environmental situation, noting that Lagos State could generate power from biomass due to its dump sites.

The lecturer also noted that areas with very hot climate could generate power from solar, while areas where there are wind turbines such as Jos could generate wind power in order to ensure energy grabbing and decentralisation.

On electricity privatisation, Mr Oke warned that privatising a sector and changing its law simultaneously would drive away the investors.

He stressed that electricity tariff cannot be increased without the consent of the consumers, noting that there are structured methodologies involved in the process.

On the issue of metering, Mr Oke was of the view that this would give close to accurate estimation of both residential and commercial consumption, although it would reduce the nation’s consumption pattern as consumers would effectively control their consumption.