The Federal Government has explained why it did not release the Budget Support Facility (BSF) to the Ekiti State government.
A statement from the Federal Ministry of Finance yesterday, signed by Salisu Na’Inna Dambatta, Director (Information), described Governor Ayo Fayose’s claims as “incorrect as the ministry has not withheld any statutory allocation due to Ekiti State, or any other state in the country”.
According to Dambatta, “the Ekiti State government failed to comply with the requirements for participating in the BSF, which is a Conditional Loan Programme to state governments introduced to enhance fiscal prudence, transparency, efficiency in public expenditure and payment of salaries”.
Dambatta added that “this is not Ekiti’s first time of non-compliance. His (Ekiti governor’s) administration defaulted in meeting the conditions specified and agreed upon by the 35 states participating in the programme as contained in the Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP) and it 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 BSF’s requirements and conditions 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 statement said.
Dambatta noted that “in the course of its duties, the ministry has the right to query, suspend or withhold funds as part of the conditions of the BSF.”
The ministry said: “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.”
The process of resolving this type of misunderstanding, the Federal Government said “is for the commissioner of Finance or the governor of the state having issues to contact the ministry 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 ministry restated that the BSF is a conditional programme and the Federal Government would not be intimidated or threatened in the discharge of its duties.