Bayelsa government has shifted its position admitting receiving additional funds after pressure from Sahara Reporters following Federal Ministry of Finance’s disclosure on the state’s share of the first tranche of the N516.38 billion Paris Club debt refund.
At the transparency briefing, Deputy Governor of Bayelsa Rear Admiral John Jonah (Rtd) recanted the government’s position.
Jonah admitted the receipt of additional N6.61 billion in the month of March.
“The Paris Club refund to states is not a gift from the Federal Government to pay salaries; it is state governments’ money that was deducted without consulting the states.
“At a meeting, it was decided that the money should be paid in two installments.
“A chart was drawn up and the entitlements of every state were written.
“But, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria decided that, if that money was released to states for payment of salaries, there would be too much money in circulation.
“It was then decided the money would be paid in four installments, which is 25% at a time.
“When the first 25% was paid, Bayelsa state could have got N21.168 billion, but then, when the money came, they only released to us, N14.5 billion. The first tranche was supposed to have been N21.168 billion.
“ But again, that N14.5 billion was not for the state government alone, because out of the amount, N1.3 billion was for the local government councils. So, what actually came to the state government was the balance of N13.2 billion.” Jonah said
Jonathan Obuebite, Bayelsa Commissioner for Information and Orientation had up till Wednesday said that reports of N24.89 bn was a rumour
The Commissioner asked the few reporters invited to cast their headlines on the Bayelsa Internally Generated Revenue hitting the N1 billion mark.