Paris Club refund: Governors halt deductions, advisers go to French court – Punch Newspapers | Vette Leader

The Nigeria Governors Forum said it had halted the planned $418 million payment and promissory notes issued by the federal Treasury and Debt Management Office to Paris Club advisers.

The forum, which includes the 36 state governors, vowed to continue exploring all legal avenues available to them to ensure “state-owned resources are not unfairly or illegally paid to a select few under the guise of consulting firms.” .

The governors said so in a communiqué signed by NGF chairman and Sokoto state governor Aminu Tambuwal and issued Wednesday following their 8th conference call, which was held Tuesday night.

But in response to the governors’ stance, one of the advisers, Ned Nwoko, threatened to enforce the payment in a foreign court and freeze the Federation’s accounts.

Although Nwoko did not mention abroad, the results show that the advisers could travel to France, where the Paris Club secretariat is located.

Federation Justice Minister and Attorney General Abubakar Malami, SAN, had said that the NGF had no basis to reject the proposed deductions of $418 million from the federation’s account, noting that the governors had created the liability, which they agreed to pay had compensated.

Malami briefed State House correspondents Aug. 11 and said the governors had reached general agreement that the advisers would perform certain services for them in connection with recovering the Paris Club fund.

“When there was success in the reimbursement process, the governors jointly and individually applied to the federal government for the fund, and among the elements of the application submitted for federal consideration was the payment of these advisors, who are now forming controversial,” said the minister.

But after their Tuesday meeting, the governors expressed opposition to the move to pay the advisers despite the DMO promissory note.

The NGF said in its communiqué: “We, the members of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, received briefings on various sub-national programmes, interventions and issues of national importance at our meeting today. We have decided as follows:

“In relation to the controversial $418 million Paris Club restitution and promissory notes issued to advisers by the Federal Department of Treasury and Debt Management Office, the Forum remains committed to exploring all legal avenues at its disposal to ensure that state-owned resources are not paid improperly or illegally to a select few under the guise of consulting firms.”

In response to the forum’s resolution, Nwoko, a former lawmaker, said: “You (governors) will only embarrass the federal government because I will be executing the sentence abroad. If I do that and the federal government’s accounts are frozen, they don’t need the governors’ authority to pay.”

However, he did not disclose in which foreign countries he would carry out his threat.

A lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, said of the development that it would be better for the advisers to let the matter settle in the local court, adding that foreign courts are likely to await the Nigerian court’s decision.

Meanwhile, the Governors’ Forum said it had obtained a federal court order stopping the federal government’s proposed privatization of 10 national integrated energy projects.

NGF announced that the injunction obtained by its attorneys would prevent FG from proceeding with the sale of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited’s power plants owned by FG, the states and local government councils.

Despite opposition from the House of Representatives to the proposed privatization of NIPP, FG, through the Bureau of Public Enterprises, had begun due diligence on the 16 pre-qualified investors shortlisted to acquire the assets.

Legislators passed a resolution directing BPE to halt the sale of power plants, which include Alaoji (1,074 MW) in Abia State; Ihovbor (451 MW) in Edo State; Calabar (563 MW) in Cross River State; Egbema (338 MW) in Imo State; Gbarain (225 MW) in Bayelsa State; Geregu (434 MW) in Kogi State; Olorunsogo in Ogun State; Omotosho (451 MW) in Ondo State; Omoku (225 MW) in Rivers State and Sapele in Delta State.

The decision followed a motion of urgent public importance brought by House Committee on Power Chair Magaji Aliyu (APC, Jigawa) on July 21.

Aliyu said the power holdings belonged to the three tiers of government, with the FG owning 47 percent while state and local governments owned 53 percent.

However, the governors reiterated their opposition to the FG’s moves, saying: “The Forum directed its attorneys to address the federal Supreme Court after it ruled that the Nigerian federal government halted the proposed privatization of 10 national integrated energy projects.” , which is currently issuing a court order restraining any party in the lawsuit from taking any step or action that will nullify or nullify the outcome of the request for notice of the injunction.

”The effect of the court order is that the defendants cannot proceed with the proposed sale of the power plants of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited pending the hearing and determination of the motion for injunctive relief.”

After receiving a briefing from Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa, Head of the World Bank Task Team, the Forum decided to reallocate the World Bank’s $750 million in COVID-19 funds to fight floods.

The restructuring, it said, would allow states to split funds from the Immediate Response program for livelihoods, wealth and basic services.

Governors stated: “Members were also briefed by World Bank Task Team Head Professor Foluso Okunmadewa on the desired restructuring of Nigeria’s $750 million COVID-19 Action Recovery and Recovery Program to address the flood response in Nigeria 2022 after talks with States and to respond by the National Economic Council Ad Hoc Committee on Floods. The restructuring will allow states to reallocate funds from the Immediate Response Program to Livelihoods, Assets and Basic Services.

“As the flood recedes, through the program, states will be able to provide grants for home business recovery, short-term relocations of displaced households, labor-intensive unskilled labor opportunities, basic service infrastructure recovery, restoration of damaged agricultural infrastructure, rehabilitation destroyed wet markets, among others.”

The forum said it is monitoring the flood situation across the country and is working with the federal government through the NEC and in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Federal Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and the National Emergency Management Agency, the central bank by Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning and the World Bank to prepare contingency measures to mitigate the impact of the flood crisis, particularly to maintain food security.

As a continuation of discussions between sub-sovereigns at the recently concluded second African Sub-Sovereign Government Network Conference, the Forum agreed to pursue increased support through its membership in the Forum of Regions of Africa and its partnership with the African Export-Import Bank, through dialogue, cooperation and cooperation between sub-sovereign governments in relation to intra-African trade, investment, industrialization and development.

State helmsmen were similarly updated on the implementation progress of the SFTAS program, which is in its final phase of annual assessments, by Senior Program Manager of the State Program for Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Technical Assistance for Sustainability, Olanrewaju Ajogbasile.

They were also briefed on planned and ongoing technical assistance to support the sustainability of the reforms, including support to ensure states release their 2023 budget in line with the national chart of accounts.

The NGF assured the program of its commitment to maintaining the reforms and implementing recommendations that could further strengthen its public financial management systems.

It also noted that Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola briefed the forum on prison congestion across the country and the digitization of immigration processes.

“Members welcomed the minister’s report and committed to work with law enforcement, the judiciary and the Nigerian Immigration Service on recommendations related to state jurisdiction,” the communiqué added.

It explained that Senior Health Advisor, Dr. Ahmad Abdulwahab, who briefed the forum on progress on polio and routine vaccination, noting that the number of vaccine-derived polioviruses in circulation had fallen by 85 percent in 2022 from 1,028 in 2021.

The statement also disclosed that the governors were also updated on the implementation progress of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project and the recently launched Primary Health Care Leadership Challenge.

The Forum reaffirmed its commitment to the Seattle Commitments and PHC strengthening, including the prudent use and timely release of counterpart funds where necessary.

Leave a Comment