Governors Seek Fresh Bailout From FG By Chinedu Asadu

Governors have asked the federal government for a bailout in the form of budget support.

According to Dave Umahi, governor of Ebonyi state, who disclosed this to reporters at the end of the national economic council (NEC) meeting presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the request is meant to assist governors offset staff salary arrears.

He said most of the governors persuaded Kemi Adoesun, minister of finance, to find ways of sustaining the provision of budget support to the states.

Umahi said such support is needed, “especially when the amount that accrues to the states from the federation account is less than N600 billion”.

He said, however, none of the states, was qualified for the special intervention funds since N630billion was allocated to states from the federation account in September.

“We came to the understanding that every month, if the total shareable revenue in the federation account is less than N600billion, the minister of finance will give each state budget support,” Umahi said.

“We concluded that in the last 12 months and that continued for the second year, states have done very well, some states have been able to pay their accumulated salary debts and then also increased their commitment to infrastructure and generation of revenue.

“However, from July, that was not paid and in the month of August, I think about seven states were paid because according to the minister, other states did not comply with the set down rules, the most outstanding of that was the non-remittance of VAT from the states.

“So those seven states have been paid but more states have complied but we requested that those states that have complied should be paid.”

The request is coming at a time the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has accused some governors of mismanaging previous bailout funds.

Only on Thursday did officials of the anti-graft agencies arrest two top officials of the Ekiti state government over alleged misappropriation of bailout funds.