The Anti-Corruption Network has asked the federal government to rethink its plan to give a fresh N656.112billion Bridge Financing Facility to the 36 states of the federation.
Each State is to receive the sum of N18.2bn from the facility which will help the states afford the repayment of previous bailout facilities.
At a press conference in Abuja, the Executive Secretary of the network, Senator Dino Melaye, said the federal government should dump the plan as it is “a case of repaying a debt with a debt.”
“The Anti-Corruption network states that instead of the fresh bailout, the Federal Government should have considered either waiving a substantial part of the 3 bailouts already granted, delay the repayment or even extend the repayment period.
“The Federal Government should have even cut the interest rate if truly it wanted to support the State Government in repaying the facilities.
“The grant of another facility in order to support the repayment of the previous facilities granted sounds preposterous to the ear,” he said.
Dino, while quoting BudgIT research, claimed that a total sum of N1.75tn has been given to States in Nigeria as extra-statutory allocation known as bailout since the advent of President Buhari’s administration, adding that nothing or little is known about how the funds had been spent.
“The Federal Government on its part is neither concern nor has it asked the right questions on how the previous facilities already granted were spent but regrettably, seem to be very happy and quick to grant another facility upon a simply request by the State Governments for further support to repay the previous facilities due for repayment.
“…with such amount of money given to the States running into trillions of naira, Nigerians should have reasonably expected a remarkable transformation of the States within a shortest possible time, in terms of road network, bridges and flyovers, free medical care, students’ scholarship, sustainable empowerment programs, jobs creation, revamping of civil service and provision of security throughout the States but sadly, the reverse is the case in Nigeria.
“Even payment of salaries should have been a thing of the pass in all these States but some States still owe their workers more than 4 months’ salary, some owe up to 6 months salary despite the salary bailout fund that was granted.
“The Anti- Corruption Network then asks, what happened to the Salary Bailout, Excess Crude facility and Budget Support facility that were granted to the States?” He queried.
The Anti-Corruption Network, therefore, called for a holistic and comprehensive audit of all the funds disbursed to state governments so far.
It added that the condition for the bailout should be a thorough audit of the previous facilities granted to state governments so as to ensure fiscal responsibility, transparency and planning, and contained management of resources of the state governments.
The network also advised that subsequently, every bailout from the Nigerian government should be a product of an Act of Parliament, saying this would enable the lawmakers to articulate all the major determinants for the approval of the bailout and also clearly state what it is to achieve with specific timelines.