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FG Halts Illegal Deductions for Police Reforms, Oil Theft

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister for Finance
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister for Finance
The Federal Government has halted further deductions from statutory allocations to the states for Police Reform and Oil Pipeline Protection, otherwise called oil theft, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi has said.

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The commissioner who made the revelation Wednesday at a press briefing in Lagos said the Federal Government deducted N200 million for five months(N1billion) for Police Reforms and N100 for two months(N200 million) for Oil Pipeline Protection, bringing the cumulative sum to N1.2 billion.

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He said the state government is waiting for the Federal Government to refund the total money deducted illegally to the account of the state. Gbeleyi who used the occasion to touch on issues that agitate the minds of residents of Lagos State said the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, was wholly funded by the Lagos State Government with N16 billion obtained from proceeds accruable from bonds issued by the state government while the remaining 24 billion was raised from taxes.

He explained that the state government opted for Public Private Partnership(PPP) after the construction to enable the private sector deploy their expertise by way of electronic tolling and make accounts for the proceeds in a transparent manner and that money realized from the toll would be deployed for maintenance.

While arguing that government lacked the expertise to manage toll business, he alluded to the experience of Federal Government when then Ministry of Works mismanaged proceeds from toll through issuance of receipts that emanate from a source other than the Ministry of Works.

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He explained that the money borrowed from the state government are tied to capital projects like the Lekki/Ikoyi Link Bridge, the 27 kilometres blue line, the Lagos Light rail, water projects, renovation of Ayinke House among others, hence rating agencies have continued to give the state high scores
He explained that though the present administration will not pay all the debt before leaving office, he argued that the capacity to liquidate the debts have been factored into the process of borrowing through provision of a sinking fund managed by the private sector.

According to him, the state has accumulated over N47.8 billion in the Consolidated Debt Service Account (CDSA) for the redemption of the outstanding three tranches of bonds, of which the next redemption will come up in April, 2017.

He said the World Bank has approved a total sum of $242.3 million as budget support and upgrade of public secondary schools for Lagos adding that the funds will soon be disbursed when approval is received from the Federal Executive Council(FEC).

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