Five states have completed processes to access the federal government’s N90 billion credit, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom said.
The money is to be disbursed in two tranches, with an initial N50 billion released in three months and another N40 billion in nine months, and will be shared among qualified states at a 9% interest rate.
Kemi Adeosun, finance minister, had said the rationale behind the proposed facility which she said was not a bailout, was to assist the states to balance their portfolios.
The government had on Wednesday announced 22 conditions states must meet to access the funds.
Briefing journalists Thursday after the National Economic Council meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Mr. Emmanuel said Mrs. Adeosun briefed the council on the credit.
“Five states have completed the process for borrowing from the budget support loan,” the governor said.
He did not give names of the states.
“It is just to make this available; it is not compulsory. What is important is can people have access to a lifeline, you see what is happening today is not peculiar to Nigeria as a country, you know the impact of the fall in crude oil price that has actually gotten to oil producing countries like Nigeria.
“What we are looking at is what are the solutions, we must provide a lifeline for people to survive and to move on, I don’t think it’s too much,” Mr. Emmanuel said, adding that it was too early to list states who have accessed the funds as more may either accept or decline.
“It doesn’t actually mean that states which will take this money do not have something accruable also from the federal government. Pending the time we reconcile our book, the federal government may have some balances to settle the state government. But in the meantime we accept this while we are waiting for those reconciliations to be concluded,” he said.
The deputy governor of Kaduna state, Bala Bantex, minister of trade and investments, Okechukwu Enelamah, and the Special Adviser on Social Interventions to President Muhammadu Buhari, Maryam Uwais, attended the briefing.
Many Nigerian states are currently facing difficulties and are unable to pay salaries, a result of the plunging oil price.
One of the conditions for accessing the fund is that beginning December 2016, states must publish their financial statements, budgets and the quarterly budget performance within nine months of financial year end.
The economic council was briefed by the Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, on the new forex rate policy adopted by the bank.
Mr. Emmanuel said the council lauded the move noting that it would help the economy and ease access to forex. “We should be the better for it,” he said.