The Federal Government has yet to receive any formal request for fresh bailout from any state government, SUNDAY PUNCH has learnt.
Findings by our correspondent from top government officials at the Ministry of Finance on Saturday revealed that since the last bailout exercise where about 19 states got a total of about N348.6bn, no state has made any fresh request for bailout.
There had been insinuations that the harsh economic condition, which was caused by the massive drop in revenue, might force some states to seek bailout from the government.
President Muhammadu Buhari had said in his remarks at the second National Executive Committee meeting of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja that 27 states were finding it difficult to pay salaries of their workers.
Buhari, while making a veiled reference to the unfavourable economic situation in the country, which he said the administration was battling to stabilise, had said, “The fall of oil prices after Nigeria has made itself a mono economy is a disaster.
“I wonder why people could not believe that in Nigeria about 27 out of the 36 states have difficulties in paying basic salaries of their workers.”
Top officials in the finance ministry confided in our correspondent that since the states were given bailout about six months ago, it would be difficult for the Federal Government to listen to fresh requests from them.
One of the officials said it would take about 20 years for some of the states to fully repay the recent bailout that was given to them by the Federal Government.
The official said,
“We all know that the economy is in a precarious situation and there is nothing we can do about it now but to think of innovative ways of meeting our problems.
“The thinking here is that rather than providing bailout, there is a need for us to assist the states by raising their internally generated revenue which is more sustainable.”
When contacted, the Media Adviser to the Minister of Finance, Mr Festus Akanbi, confirmed to our correspondent in a telephone interview that the ministry had yet to receive any fresh request for bailout from state governments.
“We are aware that we are in a critical period and we are working seriously to address the problems facing the economy.
Officially, no state has approached us for bailout.”
The states that benefited from the bailout fund, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria are Abia (N14.152bn), Adamawa (N2.378bn), Bauchi (N8.60bn), Bayelsa (N12.85bn), Benue (N28.013bn) Borno (N7.680bn), Cross River (N7.856bn), Delta (N10.036bn), Ebonyi (N4.063bn), Edo (N3.167bn), Ekiti (N9.604bn), and Enugu (N4.207bn).
Also among the states are Gombe (N16.459bn), Imo (N26.806bn), Katsina (N3.304bn), Kebbi (N0.690bn), Kogi (N50.842bn),Kwara (N4.320bn) and Nasarawa (N8.317bn).
Others are Niger (N4.306bn), Ogun (N19.00bn), Ondo (N14.686bn), Osun (N34.988bn),Oyo (N26.606bn), Plateau (N5.357bn), Sokoto (N10.093bn) and Zamfara (N10.02bn).