The All Progressives Congress (APC) has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for coming to the aid of the long-suffering Nigerian workers with a multi-billion-naira package that will not only ensure that all arrears of salaries owed by many states across the country are immediately paid, but will also make it easier for the states to meet their monthly salary obligations henceforth.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said it was particularly delighted that the President had shown that he is truly the father of the nation by eschewing partisanship in approving the intervention fund for all the states, irrespective of which parties they belong to.
”We say this because when states were financially handicapped during the tenure of the last federal government, opposition states were hung out to dry while states belonging to the then ruling PDP got generous bailouts,” it said.
APC said by his action, President Buhari has practicalised his deep understanding of the essence of governance which, more than anything else, is about the well being of the citizenry.
The party said worthy of note and commendation is the fact that the special intervention fund approved by President Buhari was packaged without any external borrowing, despite the paucity of funds occasioned by the fall in the price of crude oil and the unprecedented profligacy of the immediate-past administration that dried out the pot of national resources.
It said so early in the life of his administration, President Buhari is walking his talk by showing that with prudence, financial discipline and creativity, plugging financial leakages and a deep sense of patriotism, even the nation’s dwindling resources can still be more effectively utilized for the benefit of Nigerians, rather than be looted by thieving public officials who abuse their office.
APC described as uncharitable and a clear indication that shame has taken flight the situation in which those who created the rot that is now being cleared by President Buhari are the same ones daring to point accusing fingers at the government that inherited their rot.
”The PDP that spent the past 16 years plundering and pillaging Nigeria has boasted that the Nigerian people will soon come, cap in hand, to beg them to return to power. What delusion! What arrogance! Who presided over the looting and the mismanagement of public funds that made it impossible for the nation to absorb the shock of the falling oil prices? Who depleted the Excess Crude Account (ECA) without authorization? Who has degraded the standard of living of Nigerians?” the party queried.
APC said the multi-pronged package approved by President Buhari includes the sharing by the Federal and State Governments of $1.7 billion out of the $2 billion remaining in the ECA; the sharing of about $2.1billion sourced from the LNG’s payment to the Federation Account; and a CBN-packaged special intervention fund that will offer financing to the states, ranging between N250 billion to N300 billion, as a soft loan available to states to access for the purposes of paying backlog of salaries.
Also, the President has approved a debt relief programme that will help states restructure their commercial loans currently put at over N680 billion. The implication is that the life span of such loans will be extended, while reducing the states’ debt-servicing expenditures, thus leaving the states with enough resources – which otherwise would have been removed at source by the banks – to meet their monthly salary obligations, among others.
”History is repeating itself before our very eyes. Some 31 years ago, Buhari, then as a military head of state, also inherited a huge national rot similar to what has been bequeathed to it by the NPN government and had to approve 480 million Naira for the payment of arrears of workers’ salaries. Truly, the President is a man of destiny,” the party said.
It said that with thousands of workers made destitute by the frittering away of the commonwealth under a rapacious and wasteful PDP government now being given a new lease of life, their purchasing power being boosted and the nation’s economy being reflated, the change which the President and his party promised the nation has just begun.
”We thank Nigerians for voting the APC into power at the centre and for believing in us even when the horizon became hazy, not out of our making but because of the misdeeds of the past. By their relentless support for President Buhari and the APC, Nigerians have indeed demonstrated that what is worth fighting for is worth defending,” APC said