The Federal Government on Sunday said it released N1.64 trillion to states and local governments between 2015 and 2017 as part of measures to stabilize the polity.
The money is separate from the statutory monthly allocations shared by the federal government, states and local governments from the federation account.
President Muhammadu Buhari revealed this in a broadcast to commemorate Nigeria’s 57th Independence anniversary on Sunday in Abuja.
He said that the funds were released to enable the states and local governments “pay outstanding salaries, pensions and small business suppliers who had been all but crippled over the years.
“Furthermore, in order to stabilize the polity, the Federal Government gave additional support to states in the form of State Excess Crude Account loans, Budget Support Facility, and Stabilization Fund Release to state and local government as follows:
“N200 billion in 2015, N441 billion in 2016 and N1 trillion in 2017, altogether totalling N1.64 trillion.
“This was done to enable states to pay outstanding salaries, pensions and small business suppliers who had been all but crippled over the years.’’
Despite the money provided by the federal government, however, civil servants and retirees in many states are still being owed by their governments, backlog of unpaid salaries, pensions and other benefits. These had led to strikes and work stoppages in states like Benue, Zamfara and Osun.
Mr. Buhari had on September 11, appealed to state governors to pay all understanding salaries of their workers, and accumulated pensions of ex-workers from the additional funds provided to them by the Federal Government.
He made the appeal when he met with members of the National Council of Traditional Rulers at the new Banquet hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He had frowned at the inability of the concerned state governments to pay retirement benefits and outstanding salaries of workers with their shares of Paris Club Loan Refunds paid to them.
“We have to digress this much because I would like to convince you that I’m living with the problems of this country day-by-day, and mostly those of the ordinary people.
“There are Nigerians that haven’t been paid for six months; there are Nigerians that have not been paid their retirement benefits for years.
“I’m appealing to the governors (that was why we voted money, we borrowed money), please make sure you pay anybody under you, pay them because most of them depend on that salary to pay rent, school fees,” he had said.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (middle); Immediate Past Vice President, International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji (left) and Special Adviser, Office of Overseas Affairs & Investment (Lagos Global), Prof. Ademola Abass (right); during the courtesy visit to the Governor by the students of Harvard Kennedy School of Government at Lagos House, Ikeja, on Thursday, August 10, 2017.
In his Sunday broadcast, Mr. Buhari also disclosed that the federal government’s current N500 billion Special Intervention Programme targeted groups through the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme and the N-Power Programme as well as providing loans to small-scale traders and artisans.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the school feeding programme has benefitted about 2.9 million primary school students from 19,881 schools in 14 states.
Mr. Buhari said the intervention programme also covered the Conditional Cash Transfer, Family Homes Fund and Social Housing Scheme.