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Author Topic: Buhari vows to recover funds looted underJonathan  (Read 115 times)

June 24, 2015, 10:57:08 PM

Offline seniorp900

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday vowed to recover billions of dollars stolen under the administration of his immediate predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. He said the Jonathan government threw the nation into a financial crisis by throwing all financial and administrative processes in parastatals and agencies to the dogs Promising that the era of impunity and financial recklessness was over, the President said the next 90 days might be hard for the Federal Government and the states. The next three months may be hard, but billions of dollars can be recovered, and we will do our best, Buhari said in a statement made available to journalists after his meeting with the 36 state governors in Abuja. But he did not state how he would go about the recovery of the looted funds. Buhari regretted that the impunity, lack of accountability and financial recklessness in the management of national resources by the past administration threw the country into a situation that is worse than what happened in the Second Republic. The President, in the statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, added, There are financial and administrative instructions in every government parastatal and agency. But all these were thrown to the dogs in the past. Honestly, our problems are great, but we will do our best to surmount them. He said that a comprehensive statement on the economic and financial situation inherited by his administration would be made public within the next four weeks. We will try and put the system back into the right position. What happened in the 2nd Republic has apparently happened again, and even worse, but we will restore sanity to the system, Buhari assured the governors. It will be recalled Buhari toppled the Second Republic government of President Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983 on allegations of corruption and gross mismanagement. The President, according to the statement by Adesina, expressed surprise that governors had been tolerating the atrocities allegedly committed in the management of the Excess Crude Account since 2011. He then promised to tackle the issue decisively. The President also declared that the payment of national revenue into any account other than the Federation Account was an abuse of the constitution. He added that most of what he heard going on in many agencies and corporations, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, were clearly illegal. On the refund of money spent on federal projects by state governments, Buhari assured the governors that the Federal Government would pay, but insisted that due process must be followed. The President said that special assistance would be given the three North-East states badly affected by the Boko Haram insurgency. On an immediate lifeline for states that have yet to pay their workers for months, the President said that a committee headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo would look into the ECA and come up with an amount that could be shared immediately. The governors, led by their Chairman, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, had presented a wish list to the President. The wish list included: Obedience of extant Supreme Court ruling that all money goes into the Consolidated Federation Account; An order from the President that all revenue generating agencies must pay into the Consolidated Federation Account; Review of the Revenue Allocation Formula; Refund of the monies expended by states on federal projects; A special consideration for the three states of the North-East under Boko Haram infestation; and Full details of the amounts that accrued into the ECA from 2011 and how the money shrank without official sharing. As of May 15, 2015, only $2.79bn was left in the ECA. FG owes N5.53tn, states; N658bn. Before the statement by Adesina, the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, Abdulaziz Yari, had told the State House correspondents at a news conference that even the Federal Government was currently battling with domestic debts totalling
N5.53tn. Yari, who is also the governor of Zamfara State, disclosed that all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, were owing N658bn. He was joined at the briefing by his Bauchi and Abia states counterparts, Muhammed Abubakar and Okezie Ikpeazu. Yari said, At our meeting today (Tuesday), we identified the problem and we are going to find a solution. Right now, we cannot even pay salaries much less
of embarking on development projects. So, at least we have to work faster and salvage the situation. I want you to note that it is not only the states. The states debts are not as bad as that, we made it clear to Mr. President that the total debts of 36 states and FCT is N658bn but the domestic debts of the Federal Government is N5.53tn, so is not equal. So, we appreciate the fact we are all in this problem. The Federal Government cannot pay members of staff of ministries, departments and agencies and states cannot pay workers. The governor explained that the meeting with the President was not just about bailout but about the way forward out of the situation that both the states and the Federal Government found themselves. He said the President himself, before he was inaugurated, was aware that some of the states were in a critical situation as regards payment of workers salaries because of the dwindling federal   revenue caused by the drop in oil prices. The governor said that they proposed to the President that instead of being given a bailout, the funds for projects that were done by their states should be refunded. According to him, if the affected states were able to get the money owed them released, they could pay salaries without a bailout. He said the governors also urged Buhari to help stretch the tenure of loans owed by state governments from the current four to seven years to about 20 years. He argued that such extension would relieve the affected states and they would be able to continue other business, including paying salaries. He added that they asked that the about $1.6bn first charge money paid by NLNG be paid to the Federation Account instead of the Federal Government. This, he said, would allow the money to be shared amongst the three tiers of government so that we can also get money to do one or two things. He said, Also, we urged the President to follow the
constitution when it comes to money sharing, Section 80 is very clear. That all money should go to the Consolidated Revenue Account for the purpose, no account should be kept anywhere because this is what the constitution says. And Section 162 also is explanatory, that whatever is going to happen to the money will be after sharing to the three tiers of government. That the NNPC or any other revenue generating agency should not have the first line charges. So, Mr. President said there will be few committees headed by the Vice-President that can discuss the way we can move forward within the few days. He regretted that states could not ask questions on the ECA. The governor added, For instance, before our group (Nigeria Governors




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