Governors, CBN differ on bailout repayment

THE NATION newspaper

Governors and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were not on the same page yesterday over the repayment plan for bailout loans.

The governors, under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) sought for further deferment of the repayment of the loans taken from the Federal Government.

The repayment ought to start this month.

But CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele cautioned on the consequences of any further delay.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the NGF asked for the deferment at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting.
NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi made the request on behalf of his colleagues.

Insisting that the states should begin the repayment, Emefiele stressed that there were challenges arising from delays particularly as it concerned auditing.

The statement reads: “On the Budget Support Facility, State Governors restated their request to defer the repayment of the loans, which was to have started this month.

“Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is also Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, reported interactions with the Finance Minister and the CBN Governor regarding the matter.
“The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also emphasized the importance of the timely repayment of loans, especially those owed to commercial banks, indicating the challenges inherent in a further delay in payment, including audit concerns. He said the repayment of the commercial loans should resume this month.

“In addition, the Vice President stated that he will be holding a meeting soon with representatives of the State Governors, the Finance Minister and the CBN Governor to resolve the issue raised.”
A session was devoted to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), where reports and financial statements, including the audit, were presented.

NSIA Managing Director Uche Orji disclosed that the authority had recorded a 343% growth in comprehensive income of about N160.06 billion in 2020 compared to N36.15 billion in the previous year and 33% growth in Net Assets, rising up to N772.75 billion from the previous N579.54 billion.

Orji told the Council that the authority achieved core income of N109 billion compared to N33.07 billion in 2019, excluding forex gains of N51 billion in 2020 and N1.29 billion in 2019.

NEC also received a presentation on the Digital Switch Over (DSO) by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. He stated that it was the International Telecommunications Union, ITU, that decided on member states switching off analogue television transmission to ‘go digital’.

The DSO will be taking off first in Lagos, Kano and Rivers states, he stated.

The Council also received an update on Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu.

According to Ihekweazu, in the last two months, there has been reduction in the number of cases globally, stating that even India has also experienced reduction in its infection rates in the last five days.

He added that in Nigeria the total number of cases as at yesterday, May 19, 2021, was 165,809, while number of cases tested was 2,002,653, with 7,323 active cases. It was also disclosed that discharged cases were now 156,419, while there had been 2,067 deaths.
Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Clem Agba gave the Council the monthly update on the various federation accounts.

According to him, as at May 18, 2021, the Excess Crude Account (ECA) stood at $72,413,574.70; Stabilisation Account was N24,741,213,941.88; the Development of Natural Resources Account was N23,650,579,140.23.


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