23 December 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed all the 36 state councils to ensure effective monitoring of receipt and utilisation of refund from Paris debt deductions to State Governments.
Federal Government through Ministry of Finance had earlier this month approved the sum of N522.74 billion as part of the fiscal stimulus plan to be paid to the 36 state of the federation as part of the reimbursement for the over-deduction on the Paris Club loan.
When paid, States are expected to pay outstanding salaries to their workers ranging between three to nine months, to cushion the effects of the economic recession.
President Muhammadu Buhari who gave the approval, had directed that the claims should be subjected to verification by the Debt Management Office.
Federal Government had reached a conditional agreement to pay 25 percent of the amounts claimed by the state governors subject to a cap of N14.5 billion to any given state.
In line with the agreement, State governments had submitted their claims of over-deductions for external debt service arising between 1995 and 2002 as a result of First Line Charge deductions from Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) allocations.
The NLC’s directive was contained in a letter with Ref. No: NLC/NS/SC/B/56 dated 20th December, 2016, separately addressed to the Chairperson of the Congress across the 36 states of of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
NLC General Secretary, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, also urged the state councils to forward the update reports to the Nationals Secretariat, Abuja.
“It has come to our notice that disbursement of the refund of Paris debt deductions has recently been made to states. This represents a major injection of funds into the coffers of the state governments.
“Given this development all state councils of the Congress are enjoined to monitor closely the amount received in their states and engage with their state governments to ensure that the substantial part of the funds is used for defraying outstanding arrears of salaries and pensions and gratuity.
“We are informed that the Federal Government guideline in releasing these funds stipulates that at least fifty percent of receipts should be applied for payment of such salary arrears and pensions.
“You are, therefore, expected to follow up with your state government to ensure compliance. Please keep the national secretariat informed of your efforts and outcomes,” the letter read.