Workers from across the country have welcomed the news of the approval by President Muhammadu Buhari of a special bailout package for the three tiers of government to settle outstanding salary obligations.
However, the workers and other analysts have warned government officials, especially state governors, against spending the money on frivolous things instead of paying civil servants and public service employees.
Presidency sources had disclosed on Monday that Buhari had approved a comprehensive relief package worth N713.7bn to pay federal workers and bail out cash-strapped states, many of which had been unable to pay their employees.
The package includes the sharing of $1.6bn dividend and $500m tax by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited paid between the federal and state governments. Besides, the Central Bank of Nigeria is to set up a special intervention fund that will offer between N250bn and N300bn as a soft loan to the states to enable them pay the backlog of salaries.
The President also approved a debt relief programme proposed by the Debt Management Office, which would help the states to restructure their commercial loans with banks currently put at over N660bn to extend the life span of such loans and reduce the states’ debt servicing expenditures.