Paris Club became popular in Nigeria in 2005 when the ‘Club’ judged the Federal Government’s economic reforms as far-reaching and focused that it cancelled 60 per cent of the country’s $30bn debt.
Between 1995 and 2002, before the debt was written off, the Federal government had agreements with state governments to deduct certain amounts from their federal allocation to service the debts.
Following a final agreement with the club in October 2005, some states that have been over charged in the debt servicing arrangement applied for a refund. In December 2016, the Federal Government eventually agreed to refund the states but in three tranches which has been released.
The issue of the Paris Club refund to some states in Nigeria is one of the area that some ex-governors don’t want to talk about. But this I believe should be brought out and discussed by all, these our ex-governors should be abler to give account of these money, for accountability.
The Nation Newspaper Online Publication dated 20th March, 2017 revealed that the complete breakdown of $56,923,722,131,81 was shared to the states in Nigeria. These can be found in several Online Newspapers.
The Ripples Newspaper an Online Publication dated 20th March, 2017, revealed that the constitution of the presidential committee which was saddled with the responsibility of assessing, validating and settling the claims by state on the recommendation of the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun via a memo dated 1st June, 2016 to President Muhammadu Buhari.
From a reliable sources update reports to Nasarawa State Government on Reconciliation and recovery of excess deduction on foreign loans of the state dated;
a) 28th February, 2014
b) 14th August, 2014
c) 26th January, 2016
d) 15th March, 2016-Debt Management Office Month Breakdown of Over-Deduction of foreign Loans for States
e) 4th April, 2016
This can be found in The Premium Timers Newspaper Online Publication dated 2nd December, 2016. This publication was supported by both online media and some national dailies including The Vanguard Newspaper Online Publication dated 12th September, 2018. Which the first tranche was share by the states. Which Nasarawa State government under Senator Tanko Al-Makura got ₦8,464,951,458.28. The total money shared by the States was ₦522,72 Billion.
In the second tranche of the Paris Refunds to the states stood at N 388, 304, 072.96, which Nasarawa state got N4,551,049,171.12. Nasarawa state government N9.1 billion; for the third trench of the payment.
The details of the payment of the second trench can be found in other news like The Vanguard Newspaper Online publication of 12th September 2018 and 18th, July 2017.
The first tranche of the Refund, N522.7bn was paid. Disbursement was however subject to an agreement by state governments that 50 per cent of any amount received would be used for the payment of salaries and pensions.
Despite the amount issued as Refund to most of Nasarawa states under the leadership of Tanko Al-Makura was unable to account for the funds, not only that, tracking the funds under him was difficult because nothing was disclosed what the Refund was spent on. We have every reasons to believe that something fishy went wrong along the way that under the leadership of Tanko Al-Makura as governor of Nasarawa state did not stick to the agreement they had with the Federal Government to spend 50 per cent of whatever they got on payment of salaries and pensions. Nasarawa State government was paying some categories of its work force half salaries based on percentage then.
There is a missing link in the repayment process to Nasarawa State which we need clarification, the exchange rate of Dollar to Naira was N306.25 to a dollar then and if we do simple arithmetic here the total amount that the government got was S120, 557, 593.92. Which is equivalent to N36, 920, 763, 138.00 at the rate of N306.25 to a dollar which what was accounted for was N26, 673, 609, 212.90.
Where is the balance of N 10, 247, 153, 925.10. WHAT HAPPENED TO THESE BALANCE?
We believe that every leader should be accountable to his people. Accountability is the bedrock from the leaders to the people.
We think Senator Tanko Al-makura should give an account of what happened to the Paris Club Refund for Nasarawa State, especially N 10, 247, 153, 925.10. balance.
Account General Federation Office refused to give a full detail of what Nasarawa State government really got and how much was really given to Nasarawa state Government we pray that the present governor Of Nasarawa State Engr. A.A Sule should tell the good people of Nasarawa State if the Paris refund was judiciously used and what happened to the missing N 10, 247, 153, 925.10. balance. And give them an account of the refund that the State got, because it is alleged that in some quarters that there was no proper handover notes from his predecessor to him.
We also pray that the Accountant General of the Federation office should also give an account of Nasarawa State Paris Club Refund and their role as we believe that there was a connivance between the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Nasarawa State government.
It is however important that the state use the Refund in tandem with the agreement they had with the federal government, and not consider it as another wind fall that should be squandered. Governor A.A SULE should consider this as one of the yardstick for his re-election when the time come as he has nothing to show for the two years in power considering what is going on in other state.
N. A. THE VOICE. S. BY. A. ABDULLAHI M. AGWAI. R. ALH TURAKI