35 States Get N2.5bn Budget Support Loan, As Agric Attracts N300bn Investments

The Presidency, on Thursday night confirmed that all both one of Nigeria’s 36 states have so far benefited from its budget support loan facility to the tune of N2.5bn since 2016.
A summary of proceedings at the monthly National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and attended by governors of the 36 states of the federation, released by revealed Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, showed that the governors received an initial N1.39bn in 2016, followed by N1.11bn thereafter.
The budget support facility loan was to enable the states meet pressing obligations, especially payment of workers’ salaries in the face of dwindling revenue and accruals to the Federation Account at the time.
However, since then, the state government have received billions of Naira each tagged “Paris Club Refunds,” being the excess repayment made by the state that was later discovered as such.
Only Lagos State is known to substantially meet its obligations and did not take the loan.
The total loan collection was disclosed by Accountant-General of the Federation during the NEC meeting, announcing a one-year extension of the facility’s repayment, which means that most of the state governors now in their second term like Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State would be adding to the debt his predecessor would have to deal with. Also in that category are: Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti; two states governorship elections are billed to hold this year. Two term governors who are billed to leave on May 29, 2019, include: Rochas Okorocha, Imo; AbdulAzeez Yari of Zamfara; and Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe, among others.
The cheering news, the statement however noted is that “analysis of compliance level indicates that 52.5% was the highest, while 13% was the lowest with respect to the conditionalities for the Budget Support Loan Facility.”
Also addressing the council, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Audu Ogbeh announced great success in the Federal Government’s rice revolution which has attracted a “total investment of a little over N300 billion, thereby saving $300 million Forex from import substitution through local processing.”
The investment, he said, represents what has been so far stimulated by agricultural development in the country as part of the Private Sector Interests so far appraised, adding that under the rice value-chain, producing states recorded an increase in output. Lagos State, which owns and cultivates acres of land in friendly states, recorded the highest increase of 30.5%.
Continuing, he said milling capacity of the functional integrated rice mills has increased from 13 to 21 mills and from less than 600,000 MT capacity to the current 1,295,000 MT, as the administration continues to prioritize improved productivity in a number of domestically focused crops with the aim of closing the gap between the demand and supply of these products through partnership with private investors.
To ensure food sufficiency, he said there are “a total of 33 Silo Complexes in different States of the federation for storage of grains produced, as well as Agricultural goods produced for exports under the Agricultural Commodities Exports scheme.”

Photo Caption: Some governors exchanging banters after a NEC meeting in April 2017