Suspend all state deductions, restructure debt service payments, govs tell FG

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Governors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, have asked the federal government to urgently put in place measures that would help in the  acceleration of an arrangement to suspend all state deductions and restructure all debt service payments on debts owed the central government and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

According to the governors, the Federal Government should also come up with  urgent fiscal measures to safeguard the liquidity of state governments.

These were some of the resolutions contained in a communique signed by the NGF Chairman and Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, after the 2nd COVID-19 Teleconference Meeting the governors held with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed and her counterpart in the  Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq.

The meeting was on stimulus incentives from the federal government to support vulnerable households across states cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods in the coming months.

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According to the communique, the governors also discussed the legality or otherwise of lockdowns in other states around the country and resolved to maintain the status quo until Fayemi resolves the matter with the Presidential Committee on COVID-19.

The communique read:  “We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, at our meeting held today (yesterday) deliberated on the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and resolved as follows: Following a briefing from the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on fiscal measures taken by the federal government to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Forum called for urgent fiscal measures to safeguard the liquidity of State governments, including the acceleration of an arrangement to suspend all State deductions and restructure all debt service payments on federal government and CBN-owned debts.

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“Members also received briefing from the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, on stimulus incentives from the Federal Government to support vulnerable households across states to cope with the expected loss of income and livelihoods in the coming months.”

‘’Governors committed to leading the effort through state focal persons in charge of social protection to ensure that palliatives, including food and cash transfers, reach the most vulnerable population in all states.”

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“Members also discussed the legality or otherwise of lockdowns in other states around the country and resolved to maintain the status quo until the Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State resolves the matter with the Presidential Committee on Covid-19.

“Members also resolved to leverage on the lockdown situations to send essential food items across borders as part of the palliatives so that perishables produced in one state get to states that need them unhindered.’’

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