By Mumini AbdulKareem
Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed on Sunday expressed confidence that the state will meet the Federal Government criteria for the assessment of the new ‘bailout’ for states across the country.
The loan which would attract 9% interest rate also has 22 fiscal conditions which must be met by individual states before they can access the facility.
Among the conditions listed by the FG included biometric capture of all civil servants, establishment of an Efficiency Unit, implementation of Continuous Audit and improvement in Internally Generated Revenue.
Others include states publication of financial statements beginning from December 2016, budgets and the quarterly budget performance within nine months of financial year end among others.
Ahmed noted that the state is preparing relevant documents to access the fresh financial window meant to assist states get out of financial crisis.
Five states, excluding Kwara, were reported to have met the conditions considered as ‘stringent’ by many of the states.
Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr Muyideen Akorede, Ahmed clarified that Kwara has not missed out on the loan, adding that it is not among the five states reported.
“It’s not that Kwara has missed out of the states that have met the criteria or conditions to access the loan, no.
“We are very much on course for it just like other states and we are preparing documents to that effect.
“Those five states that met the criteria initially were those that had done so as at the time the Federal Executive Council meeting was held”, he added.
Efforts to get when the states will perfect the conditions was however not successful last night as several calls and text message forwarded to the state Commissioner for Finance, Demola Banu were not returned as at 10:00pm before this paper went to bed.
When accessed, the fund according to the federal government will be disbursed in two tranches, with an initial N50 billion released in three months and another N40 billion in nine months.
Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun, had said the rationale behind the proposed facility was to assist the states to balance their portfolios.
But briefing journalists after the National Economic Council meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel said the loan is not compulsory.
According to him while briefing journalists shortly after the executive council meeting said: “It is just to make this available; it is not compulsory. What is important is can people have access to a lifeline? You see what is happening today is not peculiar to Nigeria as a country, you know the impact of the fall in crude oil price that has actually gotten to oil producing countries like Nigeria.
“What we are looking at is what the solutions are, we must provide a lifeline for people to survive and to move on, and I don’t think it’s too much. It was too early to list states that have accessed the funds as more may either accept or decline.
“It doesn’t actually mean that states which will take this money do not have something accruable also from the federal government. Pending the time we reconcile our book, the federal government may have some balances to settle the state government. But in the meantime we accept this while we are waiting for those reconciliations to be concluded.