*Ensure money spent on workers salary, PDP urges NASS
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi, Musa Adamu and Ibrahim Lateef
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday, requested the Senate to approve N10.069 billion for Kogi State government as refund for money spent by the State government on federal roads in the State .
The President’s request which was contained in a letter dated 10th October, 2019, was for the settlement of inherited local debts and contractual obligations of the Federal Government to the State for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
The President in the letter said the money would be used by the state government to settle local debts it incurred as a result of the projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
Buhari said his request was based on the resolution passed by the 8th National Assembly
He noted that 24 out of 25 state governments had received the approval of the National Assembly for the settlement of claims on projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government since the 8th Senate passed the resolution.
He added that N10.069 bn was the outstanding amount due to Kogi State Government which is the only state yet to receive a refund.
The letter reads : “Based on my request for the Resolution of the National Assembly approving the establishment of a promissory note programme and a Bond Issuance to settle inherited Local Debts and Contractual Obligations of the Federal Government, the 8th National Assembly passed Resolutions approving the Issuance of Promissory Notes to refund State Governments for projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.
“The Resolutions of the 8th Assembly were conveyed through three different letters from the Clerk of the National Assembly as follows: Letter dated July 27, 2018 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.10/277 which approved the Issuance of Promissory notes to 21 states.
“Letter dated January 29, 2019 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.11/004 which approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to Delta and Taraba States; and letter dated May 23, 2019 and referenced NASS/CAN/106/Vol.11/164 which approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to Bauchi State.
“The three Resolutions approved the Issuance of Promissory Notes to 24 out of the 25 State Governments requested, and the only State for which approval has not been given is Kogi State, with an outstanding claim of N10,069,692,410.15 (Ten billion, Sixty-Nine million, Six Hundred and Ninety-Two thousand, Four Hundred and Ten Naira, Fifteen Kobo).
“The Senate may wish to note that, subsequent to Resolutions of the National Assembly approving the refunds to the 24 State Governments, the Federal Government has issued Promissory Notes to all the approved States for the settlement of their claims.
“Accordingly, the Senate is hereby requested to kindly approve, the Issuance of a Promissory Note in the sum of N10, 069,692,410.15 as refund to Kogi State Government for Projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government.”
The request was therefore referred to the senate committee on local and foreign debt to consider within two weeks.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the National Assembly to invoke its statutory powers by directly channeling the N10.069 billion Presidential funds for payment of salaries and pensions of suffering Kogi state workers.
The PDP gave the advice in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja.
The party said that it is scandalous that the presidency, with its claims of transparency and integrity, would seek to mislead the National Assembly by asserting that the fund is for projects done by the state government on behalf of the Federal Government, when in reality no one can point to any such project executed by Governor Yahaya Bello in the last four years.
The PDP described as endorsement of corruption and inexcusable injury to the people of Kogi State, for President Muhammadu Buhari to seek to direct funds to Governor Yahaya Bello, for phantom projects, and neglect the Kogi workers, many of whom are owed salaries and pension in arrears of 36 months.
According to the statement, “Such action by Mr. President further confirms that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is directly in league with Governor Yahaya Bello to strangulate the people of Kogi state.”
The PDP also called on the people of Kogi State as well as financial watch organizations to be at alert, monitor all disbursement of funds to Kogi State and ensure that Governor Bello and the APC do not achieve their aim of diverting the N10.069 billion for their selfish purposes.