The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, has disclosed plans by the Federal Government to pay debts owed the 36 states by paying them N720bn with each state collecting N20bn apiece.
Dogara said the money would be used for the provision of infrastructure by the states.
Many states had in the past undertaken to rehabilitate failing Federal Government infrastructure in their domain, especially road projects with the understanding that they would be repaid by the latter.
A statement on Sunday by the Speaker’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Iliya Habila, quoted Dogara as making the disclosure during a visit to the Igwe of Ogwuekpele, His Royal Highness, Valentine Onyema-Ogidiga.
Dogara visited the monarch in his Ogwuekpele palace in Anambra State.
It read in part, “Regards to debts being owed to states, I can announce that very very soon, a chunk of money will be given to states.
“It is being processed and I know that no state will get less than N20bn from the money that is coming.
“That will be something substantial in the hands of the governors. Those that are spirited, I believe they will be able to translate that money into development so that they can support the diversification (agenda) of the Federal Government.”
The statement explained that Dogara was responding to complaints made by the monarch that social infrastructure in the state was decaying and needed urgent funds for resuscitation.
It added, “Without capital, you cannot invest; so these are the two things that this government is devoted to. By doing so, state governments can have enough capital; they will have the needed infrastructure for the establishment of functional industries for the evacuation of either solid minerals or agricultural products. And we know that agriculture has the potential of providing employment for the majority of our people.
“And I can assure you that when we talk about diversification, it is not just on paper. Recently, there are efforts by the government to source money so that it can begin in earnest the putting up of infrastructure; functional road networks, intermodal and multimodal connectivity of our transportation system and building airports, railways and integrating them with land transportation.
“These are the things that are on the agenda and then giving citizens access to cheap capital that they can use to better their lives and start business and provide employment that will earn us foreign exchange.”
The Igwe had earlier appealed to the Federal Government to support Anambra State in the building of infrastructure.
He said infrastructure would help farmers to move farm produce easily from the villages to urban markets in cities like Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi and beyond the state.