- The NGF said that apart from stopping further deductions from the State Governments’ accounts for London/Paris Club obligations, the Finance Minister also promised to ensure the refund of what had been previously deducted from the respective states’ accounts.
- The Finance Minister promised to refund the amounts previously deducted from the respective states’ accounts.
- The NGF also underwent a leadership change, with the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, becoming the new Chairman, and the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, becoming the Vice Chairman.
The 36 state governors under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) said the Federal Government has agreed to stop further deductions from the State Governments’ accounts to meet Local Government Councils London/Paris Club obligations.
This was made known by the outgoing Chairman of NGF, Governor Aminu Tambuwal, while briefing members at the forum’s meeting held on Tuesday, May 23, 2023.
The governors have been at loggerheads with the Federal Government over plans by the latter to deduct $418 million as Paris Club Refunds from the accounts of states and local governments for payment to consultants.
Governor Tambuwal said the Finance Minister also promised to ensure the refund of what had been previously deducted from the respective states’ accounts.
Change of forum leadership
The communiqué stated that the meeting also affected changes in the forum’s leadership with the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq emerging as the new Chairman, with Oyo State’s Governor Seyi Makinde as Vice Chairman.
- The communique reads: “Members were briefed by the Chairman of the forum that the Hon. Minister of Finance has granted the request of the forum to immediately stop further deductions from the accounts of States to meet Local Government Councils London Paris Club obligations and the monies so far deducted be paid back to the States.
- “On the leadership of the forum, the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, emerged as the new Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum through a consensus, and the Governor of Oyo State Seyi Makinde is now the Vice-Chairman.
- “Members expressed satisfaction with the success of the just concluded Induction for new and returning Governors that took place between 14 and 19 of May 2023. Members committed to sustained collaboration among the states through enhanced peer review, learning at the sub-national level and deepening the relationship with the Federal Government and other institutions.”
What you should know
The issue of Paris Club obligations and deductions have been a major cause of disagreement between the Federal Government and State Governments in recent time.
Recall that the state governments have opposed plans by the federal government to deduct $418 million as Paris Club Refunds from the accounts of states and local governments for payment to consultants, leading to a legal tussle.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court Abuja division had in March dismissed an application by the attorney generals of the 36 states of the federation seeking an order to permanently restrain the Federal Government from deducting monies accruing to the state over the $418 million Paris Club refund.
The NGF had also disagreed with the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on the payment of consultants for the Paris Club refund, calling such payments illegal.
This comes after Malami told newsmen that the governors’ forum agreed on the engagement of consultants to provide certain services for them relating to the recovery of the Paris Club.