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Senate fumes over Paris Club refund to states





The Senate will next week consider how the Paris Club refund doled out to state governments was approved.

President Muhammadu Buhari gave part of the Paris Club refund to governors to assist them to offset mounting salary arrears and to meet up with other obligations.

The Senate resolution followed an observation by Senator Samuel Anyanwu that the upper chamber should look into the legality of the fund.

Anyanwu (PDP Imo East) sought to know who gave approval for the distribution of the Paris Club refund since the National Assembly was not consulted before the disbursement of the fund to states.

Anyanwu said: “I am worried about the Paris club refund. Governors are asking for more fund. Where is this money coming from? The Senate has not given any approval for the disbursement of any such fund. Who gave approval for the bail out fund and where is the money from?.

“I heard the President scolding them the other day. The President was asking them how they sleep at night even when they do not pay salaries. They have received billions of naira. I feel worried. Even the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has told the President to stop giving bail out to governors.

“If you look at the front page of newspapers, you will see the issue there. This is the problem. If my colleagues will allow me, I want to bring this as a motion at our next legislative day. I so submit.”

Senate President Bukola Saraki sought the leave of the Senate to authorise that a proper motion be brought on the issue.

Saraki said: “Senator Samuel Anyanwu has spoken. Is it the wish of our colleagues that this motion be brought at another legislative day.”

The approval was unanimous.

President Buhari in 2015, a few weeks after he assumed office, approved bailout funds to states to settle salary arrears.

In late 2016 and early 2017, President Buhari approved the disbursement of N760.17 billion in two tranches of N243.79 billion each to the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory as Paris Club refund.

On Tuesday, governors met with the President to demand the release of the outstanding Paris club refund by November to enable them include it in their 2018 budget plan.


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Senate fumes over Paris  Club refund to states
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