Makinde Says FG Didn’t Give States N30bn Each For Food Security

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Oyo State governor and Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, ‘Seyi Makinde, has countered the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, declaring there is no truth in the claim that states of the federation got an additional N30 billion each outside of their statutory revenue allocations to address food insecurity in their states.

The governor stated this on Thursday, noting that Oyo State has not received any N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) or the federal government and that his government has been and will always be open and transparent to the people of the state.
 
Senator Akpabio during a plenary session on Wednesday, announced that all 36 state governors have received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to address the food crisis in the country.
 
The Senate President who dismissed the protests in major cities against hunger and hardship, labelling them as politically motivated, emphasised that the recently disbursed funds are separate from the governors’ regular monthly allocations, urging them to utilize the funds exclusively for addressing food shortages and not divert them for other purposes.
 
He said, “We can see a lot of protests here and there, most of those sponsored protests are not aware of the kind of efforts being made by this senate to tackle the situation together with a joint management team of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I must say that unverified report has it that each of the states’ governments in the last few months has received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, outside their normal allocation from the federation account to assist them in ameliorating the food situation, we believe that every state government should utilize the funds so received towards ensuring that food is available.
Makinde, speaking at Iseyin where he commissioned the newly-renovated multi-billion Naira Iseyin Central Mosque, added that apart from Oyo State not getting N30 billion from any agency or department of the Federal Government, he could say the same for his colleague-governors as vice chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
The governor said he has been doing everything to cushion the effect of the economic hardship on the people, and warned that leaders should instil confidence and hope in the citizenry in this trying time rather than playing the blame game.
Governor Makinde decried Akpabio’s reliance on unverified reports, clarifying that states couldn’t get funds from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), since all revenues go into the Federation Account and belong to the Federal Government, states and local governments.

According to Makinde, the only fund that Oyo State got from the Federal Government outside of statutory allocation was N2 billion out of the N5 billion promised to all states in the wake of the removal of fuel subsidy, adding that the Federal Government had even been asking for the refund of the N2 billion.

Makinde added that his government has been doing its best to mitigate the hardship on residents of the state, having been the first to announce and implement measures to cushion the effect of the hardship through the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SafER).

He said: “This is a very difficult period in our nation’s history because all of us are aware of what we are going through economically. But for us as an administration, I can say we are the first in Nigeria to announce and implement measures on the 9th of June 2023, to cushion the effect of this policy through SAfER.

“We have been doing our bit. And the reason I came here is for us to talk to ourselves and intensify prayers. So, this is one of the edifices through which we can reach God, though we have done our bit. We have health insurance for our people, we gave farm inputs to our farmers but, at this stage, we need to cry to God.

“For the workers, we have been paying a wage award; N25,000 for workers and N15,000 for pensioners, and we have paid for close to six months. Only last week, I announced an extension for another six months so that we can have the time to conclude the discussion on minimum wage”
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“Well, we know there is much to be done and we will continue to do everything within our power to support our people through this hard time”.

“This is not the time to play politics, as we have real issues that deserve real solutions. But yesterday, I saw the video and read in the news where the Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, made a statement, though he said it was an unverified report, stating that the state governments received additional N30 billion from the FIRS, outside of our statutory allocation, in the last few months, to address food security.

“Please, listen to me loud and clear. I can speak for Oyo State and can also speak for any of my colleagues. This is because, as the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, I know when things are happening. If I want to play politics, I will keep quiet and let this slide, but I am not going to let this slide. FIRS cannot give money to any state. It is not possible. All revenues accruing to the country go into the federation account and it is distributed to all tiers of government.  The FG does not give states money. The money in the federation belongs to all of us; it does not only belong to the Federal Government.

“So, if the Senate President, who is the number three citizen in this country, could be quoting an unverified report, people are looking at us as leaders. This is the period that we are supposed to give confidence to our people. It is not the period to start playing politics or to start looking for scapegoats. We need to engage with our people. If our policies are not working, we need to listen to the people and amend them. So, if the Number Three Citizen had nothing but an unverified report, why did he need to say it? Does his statement give confidence to the people or solve the problem of hunger and anger in the land?

“Let me say it clearly: as for Oyo State and most of my colleagues, there is nothing like N30 billion being given to states for food security and I stand to be challenged”

“Yes, the Federal Government promised the states N5 billion and out of that, it only gave N2 billion and they are even asking that the N2 billion should be refunded right now.”
“It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to manage the fiscal situation in Nigeria and manage the inflationary trend we have in the country right now. We have been transparent about everything we are doing here and this is the time for us to stay together as a nation to solve the problems we are facing. It is not the time to engage in blame games and propaganda. Hunger and anger are real and, as leaders, we must address them.”

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