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N804 Bn Bailout: Vindication Of Jonathan’s Administration –PDP

Olisa Metuh

*You’re Wrong, Presidency Replies PDP

By Niyi Adeyi – The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has countered the ruling All Progressives Congress over the claim that Former President Goodluck Jonathan, left an empty treasury for his successor, President Muhammadu Buhari.

PDP Tuesday argued that the release of over N804 billion from the Nation’s coffers as bailout to states and local governments across the country contradicted the speculation that the ex-President left empty coffers.

In a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, the PDP said it believed that the sum approved by Mr. President would go a long way in alleviating the sufferings of the Nigerians workers in various states of the Federation, most of whom have been without their wages for some months.

Metuh said the PDP “notes that a significant amount of the bailout came from savings accumulated in the Excess Crude Account handed over to the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC)’s administration” by the past immediate past  administration.

“This development is in clear contradiction to the earlier impression given by President Buhari to Nigerians and the international community that they should not expect much from his administration in its first one hundred days because according him, upon assumption of office, he met a virtually empty treasury.

“We want to believe that given the President’s release of such huge amount, he may have realized that he was earlier misdirected on the actual financial state of the nation at the time he took over. In this regard, we expect the President, as a respected statesman to do the needful to correct that erroneous impression.

In addition, the statement restated that President Buhari’s APC administration as direct beneficiary of this savings initiated by past PDP administrations was expected to appreciate the strategic importance of always “saving for rainy days and as such guarantee prudent and transparent management of the nation’s resources now under its care.”

The opposition charged the APC as a party in government to put its house in order; desist from injecting confusion and distracting the President from settling down to form a government and face the enormous challenges of governance, especially the implementation of his long list of campaign promises to Nigerians.

Nigerians, Metuh held were no longer interested in insults, tirades and propaganda but in actions and policies that would move the nation forward, a stance he challenged the APC has failed to recognize.

You’re Wrong, Presidency Replies PDP

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has faulted media reports that he has approved withdrawal from the Excess Crude Account for the relief package.

In a statement issued Tuesday by his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adeshina, President Buahri stated for greater clarity on the matter, the measures he approved to deal with the problem of unpaid public sector salaries 18 states include:

“the sharing of the $2.1 Billion dividend paid to the Federation Account by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG); a Central Bank-packaged special intervention fund that will offer financing to the states, ranging from N250 billion to N300 billion”, adding that,  this would be a soft loan available to states for the purposes of paying backlog of salaries.

Other relief measures Mr. President indicated, were a debt relief programme designed by the Debt Management Office (DMO) which would help States to restructure their commercial loans currently put at over N660 Billion and extend the “life span of such loans” while reducing their debt-servicing expenditures.

Mr. Adeshina emphasized that the measures approved by President Buhari did not include drawing down the remaining balance in the Excess Crude Account or the “liquidation” of the account as some media outlets have wrongly reported.

“No such decision has been taken or approved by President Buhari, and last week’s meeting of the National Economic Council clearly concluded that the Excess Crude Account should be left untouched at this time” Mr. President stressed.



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