Banks seized state bailout funds over debts

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The Governor of Zamfara State, Abdualziz Yari, has said the $2.1 billion dividend paid into the Federation Account by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG), which the Federal Government used to bail out debtor- states, were seized by some banks over debts.

The fund was part of the presidential palliative as intervention package to help bankrupt states settle salary arrears.

Yari, who again met with Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Tuesday night, told State House Correspondents, that no other bail-out aside the NLNG has been released to states, but that some states had theirs seized because they were lagging behind in their loans repayment.

Yari, who is also the Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Governors Forum, said, “what I am saying, no money has been released yet, but I think the NLNG money that was given, some states, their shares were taken by the banks because of debts. So, automatically, that has to go there.

“But I think the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor is negotiating with the banks on how we are going to share, now we have agreed that this bailout or intervention funds are coming so that they will know the purpose the palliative was made for the states to rescue them to pay staff salaries.

“But for sure, some other governors reported that money went to their accounts, it was taken by some banks because of their outstanding loans”, he said.

Yari also blamed the media for demonizing some governors over their distressed situation, saying if the banking sector and the downstream sector got bail-outs, there was nothing wrong if states in distress are also assisted out.

He said: “The Federal Government wants to give bailout to states because of the situation but the way you guys (the media) are talking about it. Of course, the bailout is in the works and the bailout can be made either to the states or to any sector of the economy.

“As I have been saying, the bailout has been made in the banking sector and bailout has also been made in the downstream sector of the economy.

On West African Examination Council (WAEC) debts owed by some states. Yari said those affected were trying to verify the exact figure and to clear the mix-up of whether the amount covers both government and private schools.

He said, “You see, including my own state. We are in that trouble. But the reason we are in that trouble is because we cannot ascertain the exact figure, which one is for the public, which one is for the private. There was a mix-up.

“So, some state governments need to verify between the WAEC and their ministries of Education and other departments of education. So, that’s why some states cannot pay.

“And yes of course, some states are giving free education. Those WAEC monies are not being paid by the parents. It is being sponsored by the government like ours,” Yari said.

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