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FG to distribute N649bn Paris Club refund to states — Finance Minister

zainab ahmed
Zainab Ahmed

The Federal Government is set to disburse N649.434 billion to states of the federation from the Paris Club refund, being balance. The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, revealed this, yesterday, at a press conference on the achievements of the administration in the last four years. She said: “For the final phase of the Paris Club debts refunds, a total sum of N649.434 billion was confirmed by the ministry as the outstanding balance to be refunded to the state governments.

The Minister of Finance explained “as at March 2019The payments made by the Central bank of Nigeria, CBN is N691.560 billion. The increase in CBN payments moderately arose from exchange rate differential at the spot of payment, though, some states still have outstanding balances, which will be refunded in due course.”

“through the implementation of Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, which the Buhari led administration developed in 2017, the economy exited recession and moved upwards on a path of sustainable, inclusive and diversified growth.” Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said

she notes that the ministry was all ears on addressing the long-standing matter of “unsatisfactory revenue performance” in the country, principally in the non-oil sector in order to ensure appropriate financing for critical sectors, such as health, education, and infrastructure.

Mrs. Ahmed said it had raised to $44.69 billion as at May 13, 2019. relating it as impressive, having moved from the $28.3  billion in 2015, she further explained : “Our external reserves, on the other hand, grew from $28.3 billion in 2015 to US $44.69 billion as at May 13, 2019, representing significant improvement that has helped stabilize the economy, including our currency exchange rates.

the expenditure performance cannot be in isolation of revenues, which as a result expenditure largely depends on government’s ability to generate budgeted revenues with deficits funded through borrowings. “In 2018 our budgeted revenue was N7.2 trillion. This is against the realised figure of N3.96 trillion, signifying a negative variance of 45 per cent. Despite this shortfall we have been able to fully pay salaries and service 100 per cent of our debt. The minister of finance acknowledged.

 “We have adopted a prudent debt management strategy which ensures that we invest what we borrow in capital projects, although our debt by international standards, at 19.09 percent Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio is well below the threshold of 56 percent for countries similar to Nigeria. ‘’The government is addressing the issue of reducing the debt service to revenue through a combination of debt substitution strategies.” Said the minister.

We have also released seven months overhead for 2018, two months for 2019, and N2.079 billion capital expenditure as at 14th May 2019. The Minister maintained that on global risks, the Ministry would persist to remain focused on taking key explanatory actions to safeguard the economy and ensure it is “resilient to external shocks.”

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