FG supported states with N1.19 trillion in 2017 – Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said, on Tuesday, that the federal government supported the 36 States with about N1.19 trillion, as at September 2017, for the execution of various programmes.
Osinbajo, who disclosed this, in Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State, during the maiden Kogi State Economic and Investment Summit, said the intervention was to enable the states address paucity of funds for execution of programmes.
He said that the funds, which were made available through the Excess Crude Account, Paris Club refunds and loans among others had enabled some state governments to embark on capital expenditures.
Osinbajo explained that some of the funds were legal entitlements of the states to which they legally had access, while others were loans to be repaid.
The vice-president noted that the present administration had the highest capital expenditures in the last two years, owing to the on-going roads construction across the country, railway lines and hydro power projects.
He described the summit as timely, saying it came at the time the country was involving ways to reduce its dependence on oil and increase its non-oil income with the promotion of agriculture and the abundant solid mineral resources in the country.
Osinbajo said that Kogi was strategically located and endowed with vast mineral resources that could make it a hub of production and commercial activities, a feat the summit aimed to achieve.
Also speaking, Governor Yahaya Bello said that the summit was packaged to alter the status of the 27-year old Kogi from “a civil service state to an industrialised one.”
He said his administration had in the last two years prepared the ground for economic and industrial breakthroughs for the state by solving problems that had inhibited the economic growth of the state.
Bello said the state was presently safe for investors and investments, adding that the problem of security had been tackled headlong.
“We are shedding the toga of a civil service state to an economic and commercially viable one and we want investors to collaborate with us and contribute to the prosperity of the state.
“Kogi State is now open for business. We want to be signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs). I invite the private sector to collaborate with us in our bid to develop the state. Kogi is ready for serious business,’’ he said.
Bello also used the occasion to appeal to Christians, particularly, the Catholic Bishops to ask forgiveness for disrespecting them.
“To all of my Christian brethren, I apologise for any way in which I have hurt your sensibilities.
“I also pray my August Guest today, His Excellency the Vice-President to help convey to our Christian leaders and brethren all over the world that I would never dream of disrespecting them. I hold all faiths in high regard,” he added.
Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, in his presentation, said the bulk of the revenue of Kogi ought to be internally generated based on the abundant mineral resources in the state.
He, however, said mining was not a business that should be tied to the tenure of any executive as it was a long term investment that would outlive the two-term maximum tenure of any executive.

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