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FULL LIST: 31 States Owe CBN N340bn Bailout Funds

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Thirty-one state governments owe the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, a total of N339.9bn obtained to pay workers’ salaries between 2015 and 2023, a document obtained from the apex bank has revealed.

The document also stated that the sub-nationals had yet to pay an outstanding of N339.97bn and a loan default of N1.31bn as of September 2023.

The fund, which was facilitated through the Salary Bailout Facility, a strategic intervention by the CBN aimed at alleviating the fiscal pressures faced by the states, was part of the over N10.3tn intervention fund made available by the apex bank under the immediate former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele.

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In contrast, the current governor, Olayemi Cardoso, stopped the programme, stressing that the apex bank could not continue to fund more intervention programmes amidst the current economic crisis.

The CBN said the SBF was designed to help the state governments to clear the backlog of salaries owed their employees. The initiative underscores the critical role of the CBN in stabilising the country’s financial landscape, especially in times of fiscal distress faced by state administrations.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: CBN Clears $7bn Forex Backlogs

The programme, which has been closed according to its status report, involved key stakeholders, such as the benefiting state governments, Deposit Money Banks, the Federal Ministry of Finance, and the Accountant-General of the Federation, all of whom played pivotal roles in implementing and managing the bailout package.

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A breakdown of the report showed that 31 state governments benefited from the initiative, with N457.17bn disbursed. Despite the substantial disbursement, the principal repayment made so far totalled N117.21bn, with interest repayments at N45.21bn.

It also showed that the states collectively borrowed N457.17bn to pay salaries to their respective civil servants and an overdue amount of N1.31bn.

The report further said the top beneficiaries of the bailout facility included Imo, which received N20.46bn; Kogi, N20.26bn; Kano, N20.21bn; Oyo, N16.81bn; and Osun, N15.93bn.

The inability of the states to perform their primary obligation to their workforce has been a front-burner issue in recent times amidst clamour by labour unions to increase the minimum wage from the current N30,000.

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Last year, state governments borrowed about N46.17bn from three banks to pay salaries between January and June, according to an analysis of the half-year 2023 financial statements of Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, and the Zenith Bank Group.

It was observed that the states borrowed the most from Access Bank in the six months, with a record of N42.97bn loan.

This was followed by Zenith Bank with N1.78bn, and Fidelity Bank with N1.42bn in the six months.

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The PUNCH reported the inability of 24 states to pay workers’ salaries this year without having to wait for federal allocations from the central government despite improved federal allocations.

The development also means that the respective wage bills of the affected states surpassed their various internally generated revenues, raising concerns about workers productivity and state governments’ efficiency in internal revenue generation.

The 24 states include Bayelsa, Ondo, Yobe, Sokoto, Taraba, Plateau, Oyo, Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi, Kebbi, Katsina, Jigawa, Gombe, Ekiti, Ebonyi, and Borno.

Others are Benue, Bauchi, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Abia, and Delta.

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In 2023, state governors got the most Federal Account Allocation Committee disbursements in at least seven years. The rise in FAAC allocations to the three tiers of government, especially the states, followed the removal of petrol subsidy and currency reforms of the current administration. The reforms have reportedly led to a 40 per cent boost in income.

Financial experts have raised concerns about states’ spending on recurrent expenditure, highlighting the need to embrace financial innovations.

‘States risk insolvency’

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The Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, said the report indicated that a majority of states were not financially sustainable and were at risk of insolvency if there was no boost in investment.

He said, “This issue is a fiscal sustainability problem, showing that many states are not fiscally sustainable and need to work towards it; and that the states need to do a lot more to attract more investments to their states so that their level of dependence on the Federal Allocation Accounts Committee would reduce.

“Even as we speak, many of them are also in debt, and by the time they pay salaries and service their debts, there is not much left to improve on infrastructure. It’s in the interest of the sustainability of the states for them to be more creative in generating more revenue and attracting more investment to their states so that they can generate more revenue.

READ ALSO: Sex Traffickers Make $27,252 Per Victim As Illegal Profits Hit $235bn Yearly

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“Secondly, we also need to address the issue of fiscal federalism because some of the states don’t have power over some resources in their domain and can’t bring investors into it. For instance, mining is controlled mainly by the Federal Government, you get permission from them and revenue is remitted to them. So we need to revisit the issue of restructuring to help states have more control over resources within their domain.”

A development economist, Aliyu Ilias, said many states had yet to fully develop themselves as industrialised and marketable to attract investors.

Ilias urged governors to develop an area of strength they could leverage to attract foreign investments.

To address these ongoing challenges, the report recommends that an increased focus be placed on enlightening state investment companies about the benefits of Public-Private Partnerships. Such partnerships could significantly enhance the state’s Internally Generated Revenue, improving fiscal health and reducing dependence on bailout facilities for salary payments.

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This delay underscores the broader challenges of fiscal management and sustainability within the states, highlighting the need for more robust financial strategies and practices.
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BREAKING: Tinubu Renames National Theatre Lagos

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President Bola Tinubu has renamed the National Threatre in Lagos after Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.

Tinubu announced this in a birthday message to the Nobel laureate who turns 90 on July 13.

See the full tribute below:

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PRESIDENT TINUBU SALUTES PROFESSOR WOLE SOYINKA AT 90, RENAMES NATIONAL THEATRE IN HIS HONOUR

President Bola Tinubu heartily congratulates Nigeria’s literary colossus and global icon, Professor Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, famously known as Wole Soyinka, on his 90th birthday, July 13, 2024.

Professor Soyinka is a globally celebrated playwright, novelist, poet, essayist, actor, singer, composer, and documentarian.

He is also a foremost advocate of good governance and of a fair and just society.

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He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1986 – the first African to win the Prize in that category.

READ ALSO: Hardship: Tinubu Has Shut His Doors, Even Some Ministers Can’t See Him – Ndume Laments

The Nobel Prize Laureate is a recipient of many other reputable awards, such as the Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature; Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award; Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, (Lifetime Achievement); and the Europe Theatre Prize – (Special Prize).

President Tinubu describes Professor Soyinka as one of the finest minds of his generation; conforming to the highest standards of human enlightenment, but unyielding to injustice, oppression, and base impulses.

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The President salutes one of Nigeria’s living repositories of history, knowledge, and courage, and commends him for his valiant efforts in the trenches for the nation’s future both as a pro-democracy champion and as a trenchant voice against corruption and maladministration over several decades.

READ ALSO: Why Tinubu Created Ministry Of Livestock Development

“Our paths crossed during our just struggle for the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria following the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election. When faced with a trial in absentia and death sentence by the military regime at home, he galvanized opposition in exile through NALICON and NADECO. His global stature made him the face of our struggle to validate June 12 and restore democracy in Nigeria.

“Today, I join the world to celebrate his profound influence on generations of writers, scholars, and activists who have been inspired by his work. I celebrate him for giving us the spark to fight and confront military dictators in our country.

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“I am, accordingly, delighted to have the honour to announce the decision of the Federal Government to rename the National Theatre in Iganmu, Surulere, as The Wole Soyinka Centre for Culture and the Creative Arts,” the President states.

President Tinubu wishes Professor Soyinka many more years in good health and creative fulfilment as a global force for change.

Chief Ajuri Ngelale

Special Adviser to the President

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(Media & Publicity)

July 12, 2024

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Drama As Women Fight Dirty Over Man In The Street Of Malia While On Vacation

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A Brit tourist who was seen in a vicious fight with another in an apparent row over a man’s attention in a notorious Greek party town has been identified as a River Island sales manager.

Lexi Ryder, 20, is understood to be one of the two women who fought in the middle of Malia, around 20 miles east of the Greek island’s capital city, Heraklion.

Video footage taken by bystanders showed Lexi, dressed in a black top and shorts, fighting an as-yet-unnamed other woman, dressed in a white top and grey shorts, punching and kicking each other repeatedly.

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READ ALSO: VIDEO: Drama As UK-based Nigerian Ladies Fight Dirty, Strip Each Other On The Street Over Man

Lexi, a sales team leader at River Island according to her Facebook, posted several photos and videos to her social media accounts in the days after her alleged fight, including a since-deleted TikTok showing off her battle scars.

The TikTok, captioned ‘Scrapping in Malia streets is not clever’, shows the young woman, who studied at Sir John Dean’s Sixth Form in Northwich, Cheshire, with several injuries, including a black eye, a swollen and bruised nose.

20-year-old Lexi Ryder (pictured) is understood to be one of the two women who fought in the middle of Malia

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Four Female Niger Delta Teen App Developers For World Tech Summit In USA

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Between October 15 and 19 this year, the four female students from Nigeria who developed an android application named AgriConnect, meant to deal with hunger issues in the country, will be attending this year’s World Technovation Girls Challenge holding in Silicon Valley, California, in the United States of America.

The JSS2 students-Oghenemaro Tejiri,12, Salome Akhabhau,11, Excel Barile-Nwika,11 and Goodness Nwonanne-Chima,12- are students of a Port- Harcourt based private secondary school, Jacob’s Well High School, who developed an android application called AgriConnect to combat hunger in Nigeria.

The girls were under the tutelage of Code Ambassadors, the consultants engaged to groom students in the school to become shining stars in the evolving tech world

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The AgriConnect was among the 3,200 android applications developed by about 11,000 girls from 69 countries, including the USA, UK, Japan, China, Canada, and Spain.

The four girls who call themselves the Smart Elite, fell into the beginners division of the contest, whose age bracket falls between eight and 12 years; the other categories being the junior division (ages 13-17) and Senior Division (ages 18 and above).

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After series of assessments by several judges drawn from various disciplines, 15 android applications were selected as finalists (five android applications for each division), while three android applications were selected for special awards, which virtual ceremony took place on July 9.

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For their outstanding app, the young Nigerian female developers who were given special recognition, are being invited to the all expenses paid technovation summit where the grand awardees would be selected.

Coordinator and proprietor of the school, Mrs Egondu Jacob, told journalists that it was not surprising that her students were putting Rivers State, the Niger Delta and Nigeria on the list of nations of the world whose students are outstanding in apps developments at a very young age.

She said: “The news of the exceptional performance of our girls and the special award for combating hunger was received with lots of excitements by the board chairman, Engr. Unwana Jacob and the entire school.

READ ALSO: Don Likens Okilo To Socrates, Aristotle, Calls For Study Of His Life, Legacy, Times

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“This achievement is a dream fulfilled because having seen our biological children- Miss Ukemeabasi Unwana Jacob (with 8A1s and 1B2 result in the 2023 WASSCE) and Master Uwakmfon Unwana Jacob (a young maths Icon with over 40 national and international medals in mathematics)-receiving national and international accolades in their secondary school education, we had challenged ourselves that under God, children from other families should equally be trained to stand out and be recognized nationally and globally through the facilities and programmes of the Jacob’s Well Schools International.

“We are grateful to God for the enormous support received from our consultant, Mr. Somkenechukwu Mamah, the founder of Code Ambassadors (an organization dedicated to training kids & teens in technology, problems solving and entrepreneurship), amazing staff and also from parents in the school. We are optimistic that greater achievements are on the way and Nigeria and Africa would be made proud through the achievements of our students.

“It is interesting to note that AgriConnect was the only android application from Nigeria that made it to the final round as well as the only android application in Africa that got a special award out of the three mobile applications recognized for a special award, globally.”

She added that in today’s world that was being driven by technology, it was important for Nigerian leaders to invest in and encourage children to grow in their knowledge of technology, adding that it was for that reason that Jacob’s Well Schools decided to introduce coding and robotics and ICT to pupils from primary one.

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As at date, students and pupils in the school have created over 12 android applications to solve societal problems and some of these apps have received international recognitions. Five android applications created by the five teams of female students in the school were registered for the 2024 Technovation Global Competition, an annual event where girls from various countries in the world register in teams in order to showcase their tech-based solutions to community problems created by their teams in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.

The school’s tech consultant expressed the hope that the female quartet app developers would stand out “as the youngest startup co-founders who leverage technology to solve more problems, especially in the agricultural sector.

“In the next five years, they should have gained experience building business models around their solution, gaining more traction, attracting funding, and inspiring more young minds to start their tech journey early enough. I hope the country supports them by providing all the resources and access they need to get their solution into the hands of Nigerians.”

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