As President Buhari Approves 50% Paris Club Refund to States, Pleads for Payment of Workers’ Salaries

As President Muhammadu Buhari approved 50% Paris Club Refund to states on Monday, he asked state Governors to clear workers’ outstanding salaries before the Christmas celebration.
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir el-Rufai, briefed State House correspondents at the end of Governors meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Okorocha said: “It was a brief meeting between the governors and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the end of the year and the President has expressed the need to make ensure that every Nigerian especially the workers have a beautiful Christmas and the issue of outstanding Paris Club was discussed. That was taken care of, to ensure that workers in various states and everywhere in the country get to celebrate the Christmas.
“We also used the opportunity to review our working relationship with the President from the states and we found out that we are in harmony. There is no difference between us and the President. Everybody seems to be happy working together. But particularly, we commended the President for getting Nigeria out of recession within such a short time. We commended Mr. President and everybody left quite happy.
“We are looking at getting the balance of Paris Club refund thrashed out once and for all. We also made a request for Mr. President’s approval that the balance should form part of our 2018 budget, because we can’t include it until we are sure that the money is coming. That was also sorted out.
“So, as it is now, the issue of workers took the centre stage and Mr. President was concerned about those who depend on their salaries to feed their families and pay their house rent and he had the assurance from the Governors that we will meet up those obligations.
“It was emphasised that states and Federal Governments must work together to get Nigeria out of its present economic predicament to make Nigeria a better society for all of us.”
Asked if all salary arrears will be cleared by each state before Christmas, the Governor said “Yes, with the Paris Club refund coming, every worker should enjoy his or her Christmas. I made it clear.
El-Rufai said what the President approved for payment to pay workers’ salaries before Christmas is the balance of the first 50 per cent Paris Club refund.
According to him, the Governors are also still asking for payment of the second 50 per cent balance so that state governments can capture it in their 2018 Budget.
He said: “Let me explain. The Paris club figures need to be reconciled. While the reconciliation process was going on, the President approved that 50 per cent of the original amount be paid to the states. The payment started from last year. We still have the balance of the first 50 per cent. This is what the President said should be paid to state governments to meet their obligations before Christmas because he is concerned that many families depend solely on their salaries for the festive period.
“That had been decided. The balance of the first 50 per cent is what we are expecting now before Christmas. The President has approved that and said it must be paid.”

Author: News Editor

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