THE NEWSGHOST, NIGERIA –
On Thursday, February 16, 2017, Nigerian government disclosed why it suspended the January allocation of funds to Ekiti from the Budget Support Facility (BSF). This was after Governor Ayodele Fayose, on Tuesday, accused the Federal Ministry of Finance of withholding the state’s statutory allocation for January for political reasons.
According to report, the federal government (FG) suspended the allocation of these funds to Ekiti in January because the state failed to comply with the basic requirements of participating in the facility.
Governor Fayose told journalists in Ado-Ekiti that:
‘In the last three, four weeks, after the Federal Allocation Committee meeting, it is sad that Ekiti Federal Allocation for January has not been released.’
Governor Fayose alleged that the Ministry of Finance was victimising the people of Ekiti for his criticism of the policies of the federal government.
But the ministry said the government of Ekiti failed to comply with the required conditions for the payment, and was not the first state to be denied the funds on such grounds.
The ministry denied that it withheld any staturory allocation due to Ekiti or any other state in the country.
According to the ministry:
‘This is not the first time of non-compliance by the Ekiti State Government.
‘His administration defaulted in meeting the conditions specified and agreed upon by the 35 state governments that are participating in the programme as contained in the Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) and the Ekiti State Government was warned formally of its failure to comply with the full requirements vide a letter on August 5, 2016, with reference number HMF/FMF/ASG/1/2016.
‘The failure of Ekiti State Government to comply with the requirements and conditions for the Budget Support Facility (BSF) resulted in a letter sent to the chief of staff to notify him of the suspension of BSF for Ekiti State and it was conveyed to Mr. President before payment to the Ekiti State Government was reinstated.
‘The Ekiti State Government and all the other participating states are aware of the consequence of failure to comply with the full conditions and it is not the first time that a state would be stopped from accessing the facility due to non-compliance.
‘In the course of its normal duties, the Ministry of Finance has the right to query, suspend or withhold funds as part of the conditions of the Budget Support Facility.’
Ekiti government insists that this explanation by the ministry is an afterthought.
The Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Communications and New Media Lere Olayinka said that the state signed up for ₦14.4 billion and had received funds monthly in the last seven months from the Ministry of Finance.
Lere Olayinka continued:
‘So when did they realise that Ekiti State did not meet the conditions?
‘Or did they send the allocations in the last seven months in error?’
He said that there was no warning letter or notification from the ministry of finance before the governor raised the alarm. That:
‘If they sent any letter, maybe they sent it today, because the governor was there yesterday and before then no one knew the reasons why the funds were not released.
‘As I am talking to you, we have not received any letter from the ministry, if they sent any letter, maybe they sent it today. This explanation is an afterthought.’
Olayinka said that he was aware that the funds were earlier sent to the Central Bank of Nigeria along those of other states, but were later recalled and the name of Ekiti State removed from the list of 35 states.