The Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed has written to governors of the 36 states of the federation demanding that documentary evidence of transfer of Paris Club Loan refunds due to local government councils in their states into the States Joint Local Government Account be sent to it without delay.
In the letter titled, Re: Request for Payment of Paris Club Loan Refund to Local Government Councils (LGCs), and signed by Aliyu Ahmed, Permanent Secretary, Finance (Special Duties), the ministry said the evidence is required to enable it to address the lingering agitations from local government councils on the matter.
The ministry, in the letter, sighted by our corresponded, warned that in the absence of the documentary evidence, “it would have on option but to recover the LGCs share through deduction at source from the states monthly allocation.”
Ahmed said the ministry received a letter dated 25th September 2019 from Falana & Falana chambers with respect to the disbursement of Paris Club Loan Refunds to states and Local Government Councils (LGCs) “which were paid into Bank Accounts provided by the states government.”
He added that the Law firm was instructed by Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) to request for the payment of the portion of the Paris Club Loan Refund due to LCGs into the states Joint Local Government Account of each country as provided under Section 162 (6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, noting that it is alleged that many Local Government Councils across the states have not been given the refunds due to them till date.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government early this year commenced probing the disbursement of $2,626,092, 828.84 Paris Club Loan refunds due to Local Government councils in the country.
The state governors collected $6,483, 282,424.61 refunds directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) based on the directive of the Minister of Finance.
The money was meant for states and the local government councils.
The states’ share of the $6,483, 282,424.61 was $3, 858,189,596.76, while the remaining belonged to the 774 councils.
But in at least 30 states, it has been difficult to trace the $2,626,092, 828.84 belonging the local government councils, prompting the letter by the Finance ministry.