Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance, on Monday, in an apparent response to reports accusing the Nigerian Government of lack of transparency by refusing to display publicly the details of disbursement of the Paris Club Refunds, said that Nigerians would not get full details of the disbursement to the 36 state governments until the final reconciliation of the records were completed.
“The Federal Government’s disbursement process is transparent and targeted at the attainment of specific economic objectives,” she said.
“The inability of some sub-national governments to meet salary and other obligations was considered inconsonant with the Federal Government’s economic stimulus programme.” She added
According to her, “claims (by state governments) with regard to over deductions had been made to the Federal Government, consistently since 2005.”
Adeosun said that to reconcile the records and facilitate full disbursement, the Debt Management Office (DMO) which has the responsibility had initially requested for a period of 22 months.
President Muhammadu Buhari had however directed that the exercise be completed within 12 months considering the plight of salary earners and pensioners and also the need to stimulate the economy.
The Minister said that the disbursements were spread over a period of time in batches and payments made only when claims of each state had been reconciled with facts at the disposal of the federal government.
“Specifically, information was available that some states had been paid, either in full or in part, under previous administrations. This necessitated a more detailed review, for the states in question.
“The release of the first tranche, representing up to 25% of claims, being N522.7 billion commenced in December 2016. Disbursement was subject to an agreement by state governments that 50% of any amount received would be earmarked for the payment of salaries and pensions,” the minister explained.
According to her, the reconciliation exercise so far to date, nine batches have been processed, while some balances were outstanding to the possible credit of some states.
She noted that disclosure can only be made after full reconciliation.
“Given the foregoing, complete and final figures can only be released and published after each state and the Federal Government have reconciled and agreed on the sums due,” she said.
She also revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari had instructed her and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to commence the process of resolving the balance of the approved amount.
“The overriding consideration for any further releases will be the current and projected cash flows of the Federation as well as the outcome of the independent monitoring of the compliance with terms and conditions attached to the previous releases.
“The Minister of Finance would like to reaffirm the commitment of the administration to publish all relevant information on the Paris Club refunds,” she said.