Govs beg FG to defer bailout repayment

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By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja

Governors have requested further deferment of repayment of bailout loans taken from the Federal Government billed to start in May ending.

According to a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Mr Laolu Akande, this was one of the major highlights at the National Economic Council (NEC).

The NEC meeting, presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo comprised the 36 Governors, the Federal Capital Territory Minister and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) besides other Federal Government officials.

During the meeting, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) Kayode Fayemi had insisted the Governors wanted the loan repayment due in May to be deferred.

However, Emefiele insisted the States should begin the repayment without future delay especially the monies owed to the banks.

The CBN boss stressed there were challenges arising from delays particularly as it concerned auditing.

“On the Budget Support Facility, State Governors restated their request to defer the repayment of the loans, which was to have started this month.

“Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is also Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, reported interactions with the Finance Minister and the CBN Governor regarding the matter.

“The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also emphasised the importance of the timely repayment of loans, especially those owed to commercial banks, indicating the challenges inherent in a further delay in payment, including audit concerns. He said the repayment of the commercial loans should resume this month.

“In addition, the Vice President stated that he will be holding a meeting soon with representatives of the State Governors, the Finance Minister and the CBN Governor to resolve the issue raised,” the statement reads.

A session was devoted to holding the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) where reports and financial statements, including the audit, were presented.

Managing-Director of the NSIA, Mr Uche Orji, disclosed the authority had recorded a 343% growth in total comprehensive Income totalling N160.06 billion in 2020 compared to N36.15 billion in the previous year and 33% growth in Net Assets, rising up to N772.75 billion from the previous N579.54 billion.

The NSIA Managing-Director told the Council that the authority achieved core income of N109 billion compared to N33.07 billion in 2019, excluding forex gains of N51 billion in 2020 and N1.29 billion in 2019.

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