$1bn Paris Club refund :FG, States meet to resolve controversy over consultancy fee

The Federal Government and the 36 state governors of the federation may today find a common ground on the sharing of the remainder of the controversial $1billion Paris Club refund.

The governors under the umbrella of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) would be meeting with the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minster of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN) in Abuja to trash out the exact percentage to be paid to the consultant, who handled the deal.

Specifically, the governors want an immediate payment of balance of the money pending the resolution of the crisis over the $600 million brokerage fee due to the consultants.

It was learnt that the governors would ask Malami to prevail on the Federal Government to pay the reminder to enable them clear workers salaries and provide basic infrastructure in their states.

The consultants and the government are in court over the increment in the brokerage fee from one per cent to 20 per cent. Sources disclosed that over $1billion is outstanding in the Paris Club account.

One of the credible sources told our Reporter that the governors position when they meet Malami and his team was that the Federal Government could share the money and withhold what the consultants were demanding from the total sum pending the resolution of the court case.

According to the source, ‘’with the approach of the election, the governors just want to have enough money to meet up the expectations of the electorate.

‘’They have mounted pressure on the Presidency to give them their share of the money.’’

The source further added that the governors were unanimous in their demand, stressing, ‘’don’t forget most of them are indebted to workers and contractors. Some of the states are just hanging on for the money.

‘’The governors are insisting that the refund will help them to improve on the welfare of workers and other Nigerians”.

The first tranche of the Paris Club refund of N522.74billion was released to the 36 states in December 2016.

The Federal Government later in July 2017 released N243.8billion as the second tranche.

In the two tranches, the governors collected N760.17billion.

The governors had mounted pressure on the Federal Government to release the funds following over deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002.

President Muhammadu Buhari agreed to release the second tranche to stimulate the economy and support the states in meeting their salary and other obligations.

While acknowledging the releases so far made, the Chairman of the NGF, Abdulaziz Yari had commended the Federal Government. He said the funds were judiciously utilised by the states.

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