Twelve out of 36 states and the Federal Government owe workers salaries about N110billion.
To help states pay salaries, Buhari, in a three-pronged relief package, has approved the sharing of N413.7billion Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) proceeds between the states and the Federal Government using the revenue allocation formula.
It was gathered that the President has also instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to package a special intervention fund of between N250 billion and N300 billion from which states could obtain soft loans to pay salary arrears.
Also, Buhari has okayed a debt relief programme, as proposed by the Debt Management Office (DMO), to help states restructure their commercial loans now put at over N660billion
It was also gathered that commercial banks would be persuaded to extend loans owed by states. To do this, the Federal Government will now serve as guarantor for the loans.
Confirming Buhari’s bailout package, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the President’s gesture was necessitated by his concern about non-payment of workers’ salaries.
Buhari, while inaugurating the National Economic Council (NEC) last week, asked the Council, to suggest ways of helping states pay salary arrears.
The NEC had discussed extensively how states could be helped to come out of financial mess.
Governors had cried out to President Buhari to extend a bailout package to states, to help them pay salaries and meet their other obligations. The governor had suggested that the Federal Government could start by refunding to states money spent in reconstructing federal roads, among others.
Inaugurating of the NEC, President Buhari had challenged governors to initiate projects that would meet the immediate needs of their people. He tasked the states to take measures to offset salary arrears, while promising to ensure that all revenue generating agencies complied with the policy in their remittances into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Buhari reiterated his pledge to tackle insecurity, youth unemployment, saying that his administration was fully committed to programmes that would restructure and transform the economy.
The president said: “I urge you all to ensure that we surmount these enormous challenges facing us as a country by working to support economic policies, which the government will soon unveil to grow our economy and finance our external promises.
“We are also committed to ensuring collaboration and facilitation of the International efforts to combat threats of cross-border terrorism, sea piracy, refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), financial crimes, cyber-crimes, climate change, spread of communicable diseases and other challenges of the 21st century,” he said. -The Sun News