By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA —Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, said the Federal Government has supported 36 states of the federation with N1.19 trillion as at September 2017.
He also disclosed that the Federal Government had finally resolved all legal issues holding down Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex.
Osinbajo said the funds were made available to enable state governments meet the challenges of shortage of funds for the execution of programmes in their respective states.
The vice president, who stated this at the maiden Kogi State Economic and Investment Summit in Lokoja, said the funds had enabled some state governments to embark on capital expenditures.
According to him, the funds were made available through the excess crude account, Paris Club refund, loans, among others, to the states.
He explained that parts of the funds were the entitlements of the state that they legally had access to, while some of them were loans to be repaid.
He noted that the present administration had the highest capital expenditures in two years, adding that these were evident in the ongoing railway line construction, road constructions and hydro power projects, among others.
He said the Kogi Economic Summit came at the right time that the country was trying to reduce its dependence on oil and increase its non oil income with the promotion of agriculture and the abundant solid mineral resources across the country.
On Ajaokuta steel complex, Osinbajo said the government also revived 110 megawatt electricity being generated at the steel plant and connected to the national grid, adding that the technical aspect to the steel complex was already functioning.
He also said the rail lines leading to the steel complex would be constructed as works at Itape had also commenced.
On the issue of dredging of River Niger, Osinbajo said it had been done and that it would assist the steel company when it comes on stream.
The state governor, Yahaya Bello, said the summit was packaged to change the identity of the 27 years old state from a civil service state to an industrialised one.
He said his administration had in the last two years, prepared the ground for economic and industrial breakthroughs for the state by solving the problems that had been hindering economic growth in the state.
Bello said the state was now safe for investors and investments, adding that the problem of security had been tackled.