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Osinbajo slides into dispute between CBN, governors over budget support repayment

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has slided into the dispute between governors and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over repayment dates for the N614 billion budget support facility extended to 35 states.

In 2017, the federal government had extended the conditional facility to states through the CBN to help cushion the impact of dwindling resources and help meet their various obligations.

At the expiration of the two-year grace period for repayment, the deductions were suspended for one year to enable the states to stabilise their finances following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the national economic council (NEC) meeting held on Thursday, Kayode Fayemi, chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), insisted that his colleagues wanted the loan repayment due in May to be deferred.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, however, said that states should begin the repayment this month without further delay especially the monies owed to the banks.

Emefiele noted the importance of the timely repayment of loans, especially those owed to commercial banks, indicating the challenges inherent in a further delay in payment, including audit concerns.

In a statement by Laolu Akande, spokesman of the vice president, said, “the Vice President will be holding a meeting soon with representatives of the State Governors, the Finance Minister and the CBN Governor to resolve the issue raised.”

During the NEC meeting, Clem Agba, minister of state, budget and national planning, said the excess crude account (ECA) and stabilisation account balances stood at $72,413,574.70 and N24,741,213,941.88, respectively, as of May 18, 2021.

Also, the national resources account stood at N23,650,579,140.23 as of May 20, 2021.

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