From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Alhaji Abdulazeez Yari, yesterday met behind closed-doors to discuss modalities for the bailouts recently approved by the Federal Government for states. The discussion was on the Central Bank-packaged special intervention fund approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The CBN intervention is meant to be a soft loan to be made available to states for the purpose of paying backlog of salaries. Buhari had recently approved measures to clear the backlog of unpaid public sector salaries in many states including the sharing of the $2.1 billion dividend paid to the Federation Account by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company and a CBN-packaged special intervention fund that will offer financing to states, ranging from N250 billion to N300 billion.
Fielding questions from State House correspondents at the end of the meeting with the Vice President, Yari who is also the Governor of Zamfara State, said the meeting was necessary in order to find out from him how far the government had gone on the CBN planned intervention.
He said from the briefing received from Osinbajo, it was clear they would have to wait for the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who is currently on President Muhammadu Buhari’s entourage to the United States to return and take action.
Yari said, “we discussed about the issue of the special intervention funds. In our last meeting with the President, we agreed in the National Economic Council that there will be a special intervention from the Federal Government for the state that cannot be able to foot their salary arrears to their workers.
“So, I follow up with the Chairman of the NEC (the Vice President) to know how far they have gone with CBN. “This issue of unpaid salaries is not only for the states, even the Federal Government is suffering the same thing. “Therefore, we follow up to know how far they have gone with the CBN Governor and now we have the brief but the CBN governor is out to Washington DC and immediately he comes back, we are going to take up the matter to see the end of issue of unpaid salaries to the workers.”
Asked to speak on the continuous activities of Boko Haram, Yari gave the military thumbs up on efforts made to cover a lot of grounds in the war against the terrorist sect.
He said their efforts have resulted in the sect being dislodged from any forest on local government in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states unlike what was applicable before now, hence the gorilla war style the sect has adopted.
He said his government was working with some international bodies to educate the youths on how best to go about mining without causing harm to themselves.
“The issue of lead poisoning in the past is about education. Our youths are unemployed and they are looking inwards to the resources at their backyards. How they are going to get employed? So, they are doing the mining without directive.
“So, when this happened since 2010, so many international groups, friends and donors are giving them support like DFID, World Bank, World Youths Organisation, among others.
“If these guys cannot stop the mining, we should find a way of providing a better mining technique, as safety mining techniques so that this lead poisoning will not happen again.
“And we have been working tirelessly with these foreign supporters and lead poisoning has come to an end. We have done our best, both the state and the Federal Government so that we teach the youths how to do the real mining even though the mining is illegal but still, these our teeming youths are unemployed.
Source : SunOnline