By Abubakar Hassan

fc1736db04503cfe1288a1db05320027_400x400

Niger state ministry of finance has said that the state received a total sum of N263.3 billion between June 2015 and September 2018.

The State Commissioner of Finance, Alh. Zakari Abubakar stated this recently in a press briefing organized by the state Ministry of Information and Strategy, tagged “Stewardship” which is part of efforts to inform the public on the activities of the present administration in the state.

The commissioner who refuted the allegation that the present administration had received about N500 billion so far from the federal government said there was the need to set the record straight.

He said a total sum of 263.3 billion was received within the period under review which comprises of N131.6 billion statutory allocation from Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) and Excess Crude Account (ECA), N33.3 billion from Value Added Tax (VAT), N18.6 billion from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), N79.7 billion inflows such as Bailout, Budget Facility and Paris Club refund.

The Finance Commissioner stressed that the Ministry was saddled with the responsibility of providing financial stability and superior advice to the state government on short, medium and long term basis, adding that the present administration under Governor Abubakar Sani Bello inherited about 30,387 workforce with a wage bill of N2.6 billion monthly as from June 2015 to 2017, but was drastically reduced to 27,109 with a wage bill of N2.2 billion even after the recruitment of firemen, health workers and others, through series of screening and authentication of workers vouchers.

He also disclosed that about four consultants were engaged by the state government to improve and initiate new ways of plugging more revenues and blocking leakages, adding that they inherited an IGR of about N400 million monthly, which had been enhanced to about N700 to N800 million monthly, and that the ministry was mopping more revenue base and accounts that will improve the state financial stability.

Breaking down the state’s inflows, the Commissioner confirmed that the state received a Bailout of N4.317 billion and N2.5 billion respectively, while the CBN Budget support facility to the state was N10 billion and N16 billion respectively as soft loan repayable within 15 to 20 years.

The commissioner further explained that the state received in three trenches a Paris Club refund of N13 billion, N7.210 billion and N7.210 billion respectively from June 2015 to September 2018.

He also disclosed that a total sum of N263 billion was expended within the period under review, explaining that about 32 percent  of the fund was released for capital expenditure, 34.1 percent for salaries and pensions and 34.9 percent for recurrent and overhead cost, adding that N9.9 billion and N3.6 billion had been expended by state and local government respectively on pensions and gratuity, while N9.5 billion had been refunded to 5,517 people as part of the 7.5 pension refund.

The Commissioner also stressed that the present administration did not take any bond and that the state bond stock which stood at N7.28 billion was the one inherited from the previous administration. Speaking on the CBN budget support facility which stands at N33.495 billion and commercial bank loans which stand at N960.84 million, the Commissioner promised they will be settled before the second quarter of 2019.

He also explained that about N3 billion was also received after series of negotiation with the Federal Ministry of Finance for the settlement of Pay as You Earn (PAYE) for federal employees residing in Niger State for 2016 and 2017, and that the outstanding N1.2 billion for 2015 and 2018 is still undergoing negotiation with the federal ministry of finance, FCT Administration and Nasarawa State Government.

The commissioner said for prudency, accountability and unified accounting system in the state, the state finance systems had been automated, efficiency unit had been deployed and International Public Standard Account System (IPSAS) had been installed.

Earlier in his address, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategies, Hon. Danjuma Sallau said his ministry had initiated the programme so as to fulfill its mandate of informing the public on the activities of the present administration.

While appreciating the support and understanding of journalists in the state to the present administration, the Commissioner also urged them to continue in that manner as he assured them of the state’s government readiness to work with them.

TAURARUWA