Tie N500bn Paris Club refund to developmental projects, TUC tells Buhari

Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Monday urged the Federal Government to tie the N500 billion London-Paris Club refund about to be released to state to developmental projects.
President Muhammadu Buhari last week mandated Ministry of Finance to ensure the release of the second tranche of the Paris Club refund to all the states, as part of efforts aimed at rejuvenating the economy.
Bobboi Kaigama, TUC president, and Musa-Lawal Ozidi, TUC secretary general, who gave the charge via a statement obtained by BusinessDay, stressed the need for Federal Government to avoid the misappropriation of the first tranche totalling N388 billion, which was released in December 2016.
Recall that the organised labour and civil society organisations have expressed displeasure over allegation bothering on diversion of funds by some state governors.
To avoid similar challenges, Kaigama and Ozidi in the statement titled: ‘N500bn Paris Club refund: This time we must get our acts right,’ and dated March 20, 2017, urged President Buhari to ensure that the funds are attached to execution of developmental projects across the country as a pre-condition for the release of the fund.
“We are afraid the governors might come cap-in-hand for another round in no distant time if the necessary things are not put in place.
“One could infer from the fore goings that the president to some extent profoundly means well but some people are determined to frustrate his effort. One would have expected that when the first tranche of money was released salaries and pensioners would have been paid.
“We had expected that some meaningful projects would have been embarked upon; instead (they) the governors rolled out their drums to receive the billions for personal aggrandisement. This is not the way to go in an era of change.
“We need not bore you with the numerous cases of suicides and suicide attempts so far recorded this year alone. Workers have become unable to feed their families, pay rents and school fees, let alone provide clothing.
“A countless times the president assured us that his government has the welfare of Nigerian sat heart but in reality it appears not to be so. If governors make judicious use of the monies at their disposal we can be rest assured that recession will soon be of mere historical significance only.
“It is therefore expedient the president recognizes the absolute fact that the citizens of this country voted for him because of his pedigree. They voted because they trusted and believed that his administration would be just, prudent, accountable and lead with the fear of God.
“The cooperation we anticipated is not there as the centre appears to be going one way while the lawmakers and the judiciary are also going separate ways. As it stands, our fate appears to be hanging on a balance.
“We are not against government disbursing any money; what we are rather saying is that the federal government should attach the money top rejects. Salaries and pensions must be paid till date and in full. We will be disappointed again if we do otherwise. This time we must get our acts right,” the Congress maintained.

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