Governors of the 36 states of Nigeria, yesterday, pushed for a new fiscal restructuring plan due to the present economic realities in their states, which had made it impossible for them to pay workers’ salaries.
The governors, acting under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, made the proposal at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. They pushed for a new revenue allocation formula and handed over to the President a Fiscal Restructuring Plan for the Federation.
The President, who shared the concern of the governors, however, said the Federal Government would quicken action on refunding monies spent on federal infrastructure by the states. He also promised to set up an inter-ministerial committee to enable him study the document. The committee will review the plan to improve the finances of state governments and make recommendations on how proposals in the plan should be dealt with by the Presidency, the Federal Executive Council and the National Assembly through legislation.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the meeting, Chairman of the Governors Forum, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, said that the review of the allocation formula became imperative in view of dwindling oil prices.
“The meeting is about the economy. We deliberated among our colleagues and we did say we would pass our demands to the Federal Government to look at demands per state,” he said.
“You will agree with me that states are the landlords. We own the land and the people, therefore, the economy of this country lies in the states. Everything comes from the states- the oil, agricultural produce, mining and people are in the states, while the federal government is in Abuja.
“Therefore, if any state has any issues and is known to Mr President, I doubt very much if he will be able to sleep with his two eyes closed. We are closer to the people and have many challenges in the states.”