By Yinka Kolawole
There are indications that the state governments’ finances have come under renewed pressures over repayment of loans they obtained from both the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the commercial banks, amounting to over two trillion naira.
The festering predicament took a centre stage at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting yesterday, chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
At the meeting the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, pressed for immediate repayment of the loans, emphasized the importance of the timely repayment of the loans, especially those owed to commercial banks.
He explained that there were challenges inherent in a further delay in the repayment, including audit concerns, while insisting that the repayment of the commercial loans should resume this month.
On the Budget Support Facility, advanced by CBN on behalf of the Federal Government to the state governments, the state Governors at the meeting requested to defer the repayment, which was to have started this month.
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is also Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, had reported interactions with the Finance Minister and the CBN Governor regarding the matter.
The Vice President said he will be holding a meeting with representatives of the State Governors, Finance Minister and CBN Governor outside the NEC later to resolve the issue. Meanwhile, at the meeting it was disclosed that the balance in the Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) stood at $72.4 million as at May 18, 2021.
In a presentation to the Council the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clem Agba, also noted that Stabilisation Account balance as at 18th May 2021 stood at N24.74 billion while the Development of Natural Resources account balance was N23.65 billion as at May 20, 2021.
The Council which is chaired by the Vice President comprises the 36 State Governors, the Federal Capital Territory Minister and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and other Federal Government officials.