BUHARI HAS NOT TOUCHED ECA, SAYS PRESIDENCY

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The presidency has denied reports in sections of the media that funds will be drawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) for the relief package approved by President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari approved a N400 billion bailout on Monday to clear the backlog of salaries in states and local governments. And Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, has now issued a statement to clarify the bailout, which is the first of its kind in the history of the country. “Reports in sections of the media today that funds will be drawn from the excess crude account for the relief package approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for states and local governments, are incorrect,” the statement read. “For the purpose of greater clarity on the matter, the measures approved by President Buhari to deal with the problem of unpaid public sector salaries in many states are as follows: “The sharing of the $2.1 billion dividend paid to the Federation Account by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG); “A Central Bank-packaged special intervention fund that will offer financing to the states, ranging from N250 billion to N300 billion. This will be a soft loan available to states for the purposes of paying backlog of salaries; and “A debt relief programme designed by the Debt Management Office which will help states restructure their commercial loans currently put at over N660 billion, and extend the life span of such loans while reducing their debt-servicing expenditures. “The measures approved by President Buhari definitely do not include drawing down the remaining balance in the Excess Crude Account or the ‘liquidation’ of the account as some media outlets have wrongly reported.” Adesina added that “no such decision has been taken or approved by President Buhari, and last week’s meeting of the national economic council clearly concluded that the excess crude account should be left untouched at this time.”
-The Cable

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