Former Finance Commissioner in Zamfara during the administration of Governor Abdulazeez Yari Mukhtar Shehu Idris has described the recent radio interview by the serving Commissioner of Finance Rabiu Garba as mischievous and delibrate attempt to ridicule the integrity of the former Governor.
Mr. Idris who speaks through an audio voice sent to this medium said Zamfara State has not being paid it’s money used in the construction of federal roads instead it was a promissory note issued not only to Zamfara state but to about 28 states meant for reimbursement of their fund used in executing various federal projects in their respective states.
He noted that since the inception of the Yari’s government, he has shown concern on the dilapidating condition of the roads in the state and decided to embark on massive road projects including those belonging to the federal government in order to ease transportation difficulties among the citizens.
He noted that it was evidently clear that the roads were constructed hence President Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as well as the current Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and Minister of works Babatunde Raji Fashola had all commissioned some of these road projects on behalf of the people of the state.
He said the administration of former Governor Yari has expended the sum of 60 billion naira in reconstructing federal roads in Zamfara State alone and as the rule provided the former Governor for long applied for the repayment of the money by the federal government.
He noted that, federal government as at that time constituted a committee which reviewed all the federal road projects executed by Zamfara state government and the initial N60 billion spent by Zamfara State in reconstructing the roads were reviewed downward to N37.4 billion naira.
The former Commissioner pointed that, the downward review was based on the condition that federal government will only pay for federal roads reconstructed based on Presidential approval.
Koguna further said, Zamfara and 22 other states with similar challenge agreed to collec promisory note with a committment that federal government will reimbursed all the states within the period of three years.
Idris said, Nigerian Governor’s Forum agreed with the federal government for the release of 40% for the whole 23 states in which the 40% of the Zamfara state share was 37.4 billolion naira.
He said the former Director General of the Governor’s Forum was asked to negotiate with the debt management office and collect the fund on behalf of the affected states and that N14.9 billion naira was discounted to UBA Bank at N10.5 billion naira which was deposited to the State Local Government JAC account.
Mukhtar Shehu further said, since the federal government promised to balance the remaining 60% of the money in three months the 23 State Governors of the affected states in April, 2018 again tasked the DG to negotiate the collection of the remaining money on their behalf which the then Governor of Zamfara State who doubled as the chairman of the Governors Forum requested the Central Bank to assist the states in collecting the note from the states at lower discount of 9% to enable the state receive reasonable amount of the money.
“Zamfara State Government received N22.4 Billon which after the 9% discount in three years became N17.3 Billion (remaining 60%) which was paid into the state’s FAAC account” Idris added.
He noted that not a dime is missing from the state treasury as the promissory notes were discounted at N10.5 and 17.3 which the total gives N27.8 Billion collected by the state government out of the N37.4 Billion and N9.6 were discounted to UBA Bank and Central Bank of Nigeria respectively.
He therefore challenged the State Commissioner of Finance Rabiu Garba to always cross check and verify his records and gather facts before going to public in order to avoid giving false information.
“We have evidences of all the correspondences between the Zamfara state government and Governors Forum, Governors Forum to Minister of Finance and that of DG of the Governors Forum.
“We have evidences of the promissory notes of 18 states which included Adamawa, Akwa Ibom Anambra, Benue, Ibonyi, Ekiti, Ogun, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kwara, Lagos Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Zamfara, Delta and Ogun collected by the Juliet and submitted to CBN for the 9% discount before they released that of the remaining five states”