By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The federal government has said that it stopped paying Ekiti State funds from the Budget Support Facility (BSF) because it failed to meet the requirements agreed to by the state governors and the federal government, on the programme.
A statement by the Director of Information of the Federal Ministry of Information, Mr. Salisu Na’Inna, in Abuja , Thursday, indicated that Ekiti had been warned about the situation, as far back as August , last year, but that the warning was ignored.
It said, “The fact is that, the Ekiti State Government failed to comply with the necessary requirements for participating in the Budget Support Facility (BSF), which is a Conditional Loan Programme to State Governments introduced with the view to enhancing fiscal prudence and designed particularly to enhance transparency, efficiency in public expenditure and payment of salaries.
“This is not the first time of non-compliance by the Ekiti State Government. His administration defaulted in meeting the conditions specified and agreed upon by the 35 State Governments that are participating in the programme as contained in the Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) and the Ekiti State Government was warned formally of its failure to comply with the full requirements vide a letter on August 5, 2016, with reference number HMF/FMF/ASG/1/2016.
“The failure of Ekiti State Government to comply with the requirements and conditions for the Budget Support Facility (BSF) resulted in a letter sent to the Chief of Staff to notify him of the suspension of BSF for Ekiti State and it was conveyed to Mr. President before payment to the Ekiti State Government was reinstated.
“The Ekiti State Government and all the other participating States are aware of the consequence of failure to comply with the full conditions and it is not the first time that a State would be stopped from accessing the Facility due to non-compliance. In the course of its normal duties, the Ministry of Finance has the right to query, suspend or withhold funds as part of the conditions of the Budget Support Facility.
“The process is for the Commissioner of Finance of any State or the Governor having issues to contact the Federal Ministry of Finance and resolve the issues without resorting to the media because such issues are of a financial nature and therefore, confidential; they are routinely resolved amicably by the parties involved.
“The Federal Ministry of Finance wishes to restate very strongly that the Budget Support Facility is a conditional programme and the Federal Government would not be intimidated or threatened in the discharge of its duties.”
When Vanguard asked to know what specific conditions of the BSF Ekiti State failed to meet, an official who insisted he must not be quoted said that the Resolution by the State House of Assembly, authorizing it which should be approved by the state Executive Council was never submitted by the state.
Another official said, that the BSF was a loan that must be repaid and that each state must meet the condition before it could benefit from it.