The Federal Government has declared that the January allocation from the Budget Support Facility (BSF) to Ekiti State was suspended because the state failed to comply with the basic requirements for participating in the facility.
Recall that the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, had on Tuesday accused the Federal Ministry of Finance of withholding the state’s statutory allocation for January for political reasons and accused the current administration of deliberately withholding the January allocation of his state because of the grouse he has with the current administration.
He said efforts by himself and other government officials to get explanations from the federal ministry of finance yielded no results alleging that the ministry of finance was victimising the people of Ekiti State for his criticism of the policies of the federal government.
Reacting to the claim in a statement signed by the Director of Information at the Ministry of Finance, Salisu Dambatta, stating that the Ekiti state government failed to comply with the requirements for participating in a conditional loan programme to state governments.
“A claim by the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, that the federal ministry of finance has withheld statutory allocation due to Ekiti State has been brought to the attention of the ministry of finance,” the statement read.
“The ministry categorically denies and states the claim as incorrect as the ministry has not withheld any statutory allocation due to Ekiti state, or any other state in the country.
“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.”
However, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, argued that there was no warning letter or notification from the ministry of finance before the governor raised the alarm, else there would have been no need for the governor to write a letter to the ministry demanding explanations on the non-release of the funds.
“So when did they realise that Ekiti State did not meet the conditions? Mr. Olayinka asked. “Or did they send the allocations in the last seven months in error?” he queried.
“If they sent any letter, maybe they sent it today, because the governor was there yesterday and before then no one knew the reasons why the funds were not released.
“As I am talking to you, we have not received any letter from the ministry, if they sent any letter, maybe they sent it today. This explanation is an afterthought.”