Execution of Federal road projects: Amaechi championed refund – Fashola
Claims in some quarters that the former Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi had nothing to do with the recent plan by the Federal Government to refund funds expended on federal projects within the State have been debunked.
On the contrary, it is now known that the Minister of Transportation was the arrowhead of the demand on the floor of the Federal Executive Council to persuade the Federal Government to pay the outstanding funds to States.
Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works who was in Port Harcourt to commission the flyover bridge at Garrison built by the Wike administration said claims that Amaechi did nothing to influence the release of the money were completely false.
Fashola disclosed how Amaechi put up a case for Rivers State.
The Minister remarked, “Let me also say now that Governor Wike has come out into the open about this, some of you would have also heard stories that Governor Rotimi Amaechi, my colleague in the Federal Executive Council was somehow not happy.
“Nothing can be farther from the truth. The champion for the refund among the ministers was Rotimi Amaechi himself.”
Recalling that as Governor of Lagos State, he like Amaechi invested on federal projects, the Minister revealed that PDP states received more of the refund made by the apex government.
He explained that Ministers have been directed to support the developmental initiative and aspiration of every state in the country.
This approach to the execution of federal policy, the Minister acknowledged, informed the initiative to refund money spent on federal roads to States.
According to him, the first tranche of refund was about N577 Billion, while the second tranche, for which, Rivers State is a beneficiary, is N148 Billion.
“In the second tranche it was five states. Out of those five states, I think only two were APC states and it was a total of N148billiion and Governor Nyesom Wike and Rivers State got lion share. He got N78billion. Don’t sit here and think he has received N78 billion, he still has to go to the National Assembly because of this part of Nigeria’s borrowing plan” the Minister remarked.
The Minister’s caution over the funds which has been authorized by the Federal Government however suggested that actual transmission of cash has not taken place.
The fact is, the Rivers State Government is in possession of what is known among economists and those in banking circles as promissory notes.
While Rivers people have a better view of how the refund occured, it is evident the Rivers Government would have to await the seal of the National Assembly which is responsible for appropriation.
Meanwhile, Governor Wike has lauded the Minister of Works for the enormous role he played in course of the refund of the sum of N78 billion.
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