President Muhammadu Buhari will Friday meet with governors of the 36 states of the federation at the Presidential Villa to discuss the last tranche of the Paris and London Club refunds.
THISDAY learnt Wednesday night that the meeting, which is at the instance of the governors, is aimed at seeking the president’s approval for the final release of N200 billion Paris Club refund.
THISDAY further learnt that the governors want to use the meeting to appeal to Buhari on the need to release the last tranche of the refunds to enable them to meet their obligations.
“The governors are hoping the president will authorise the final release of the Paris Club refunds, which is about N200 billion so that they can fulfil their obligations to workers and pensioners and pay other bills in their states,” a source said.
According to him, when the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, led a delegation of seven governors to London to visit the president, he had thanked them for “holding Nigeria together in his absence”.
He said the governors want to capitalise on the good relationship with the president to seek his approval for the last release of the refunds.
Buhari had approved the payment of the first tranche of N522 billion on December 16 last year.
Again, in July, the federal government released N243.80 billion as the second tranche of Paris Club refunds to the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
With the release of the second tranche, the total amount disbursed to the states stood at N765.8 billion.
The refunds comprise the excess deductions from their Federation Account allocations for external debt service payments between 1995 and 2002.
When Nigeria reached a final agreement for debt relief with the Paris and London Clubs in October 2005, some states had already been overcharged, resulting in the demand for refunds by the governors.
The federal government had released both tranches of the refunds on the condition that a certain portion would be used by the states to defray the outstanding salary and pension obligations to workers in their states.
Several states, however, still owe their workers several months unpaid wages.