Governors to sustain legal action on $418m Paris Club refund to FG’s consultants, privatization of 10 NIPPS

Governors to sustain legal action on $418m Paris Club refund to FG’s consultants, privatization of 10 NIPPS

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The 36 State Governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) unanimously resolved to sustain the legal action against the disbursement of the $418 million Paris Club refund and promissory notes issued to consultants by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO).

The resolution was contained in the communique signed by the NGF Chairman, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State at the end of the NGF’s 8th Teleconference meeting, during which the Governors deliberated on various subnational programmes, interventions, and issues of national importance.

During the review of the Court Order on the planned privatization of the 10 National Independent Power Project (NIPP) by the present administration, the Governors during the meeting mandated NGF’s Lawyers to approach the Federal High Court from taking any step or action that will make or render the outcome of the motion on notice seeking for Interlocutory Injunction nugatory.

The communique read: “The Forum following its advocacy that the proposed privatization of 10 National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) by the Federal Government of Nigeria should be stopped, instructed its lawyers to approach the Federal High Court which at present has issued a Court Order restraining all the parties in the suit from taking any step or action that will make or render the outcome of the motion on notice seeking for Interlocutory Injunction nugatory.

“The effect of the Order of the Court is that Respondents cannot proceed with the proposed sale of the power plants belonging to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHCL) until the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for Interlocutory Injunction.

“Regarding the $418 million Paris Club Refund and promissory notes issued to Consultants by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Office (DMO), the Forum remains resolute in exploring all legal channels available to it in ensuring that resources belonging to States are not unjustly or illegally paid to a few in the guise of consultancies.

“The Forum following its advocacy that the proposed privatization of 10 National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) by the Federal Government of Nigeria should be stopped, instructed its lawyers to approach the Federal High Court which at present has issued a Court Order restraining all the parties in the suit from taking any step or action that will make or render the outcome of the Motion on Notice seeking for Interlocutory Injunction nugatory.

“The effect of the Order of the Court is that Respondents cannot proceed with the proposed sale of the power plants belonging to the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHCL) until the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.

“Sequel to discussions between sub-sovereigns at the recently concluded 2nd African Sub-Sovereign Government Network (AfSNET) Conference, the Forum agreed to pursue through its membership on the Forum of Regions of Africa (FORAF) and its partnership with the African Export-Import (AFREXIM) Bank, support for enhanced dialogue, cooperation and collaboration between sub-sovereign governments around intra-African trade, investment, industrialization, and development.

“The Forum is monitoring the flood situation across the country and working with the Federal Government through the National Economic Council (NEC) and in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHDSD), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (FMFBNP) and the World Bank to prepare emergency interventions to ameliorate the impact of the flood crisis especially to sustain food security.

“Members were also briefed by the World Bank Task Team Leader (TTL), Professor Foluso Okunmadewa on the desired restructuring of the $750 million Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus Program (CARES) programme to respond to Nigeria 2022 Flood Response following discussions with states and the National Economic Council (NEC) Ad-hoc committee on flooding.

“The restructuring will allow states re-allocate funding from the programme for immediate response for livelihoods, assets and basic services. As the flood recedes, the states through the programme will be able to support the household enterprise recovery grants, short-term transfer of households displaced, labour-intensive opportunities for unskilled labour, rehabilitation of basic services infrastructure, recovery of damaged agricultural infrastructure, and rehabilitation of destroyed wet markets, amongst others.

The governors also received an update from the Senior Programme Manager of NGF States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Technical Assistance Programme, Olanrewaju Ajogbasile, on the implementation progress of the SFTAS programme which is in its last phase of annual assessments.

“Members were also informed of technical assistance planned and ongoing to support the sustainability of the reforms including support to ensure States publish their 2023 budget in line with the National Chart of Account (NCoA). The Forum assured the programme of its commitment to sustain the reforms and implement recommendations that could further strengthen its public financial management systems.”

According to him, Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola briefed the Forum on the congestion of the custodial centres across the country and the digitalization of immigration processes.

“Members welcomed the report of the Minister and committed to working with law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, and the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on the recommendations put forward as they relate to individual State jurisdiction.

“Finally, the NGF Senior Health Advisor, Dr Ahmad Abdulwahab briefed the Forum on the progress with Polio/Routine Immunization highlighting that there has been an 85% reduction in the number of Circulating Vaccine-Derived Polio Virus (cVDPV) in 2022 from 1,028 cases recorded in 2021.

“Members were also provided updates on the implementation progress of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (CoPREP) and the recently launched Primary Health Care (PHC) Leadership Challenge.

“The Forum reiterated its commitment to the Seattle commitments and PHC strengthening including the judicious use and timely release of counterpart fund where required,” Governor Tambuwal noted in the communique.

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