Repayment of overdue debt low in most states, DMO warns

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Director General of the Debt Management Office, Ms. Patience Oniha, said many state governments are still struggling to pay arrears, a development that threatens the debt sustainability level of states.

She said so in a presentation document titled “Tracks towards sustainable debt management: the SFTAS approach”, which was obtained by our correspondent on Monday.

It was revealed to our correspondent that the presentation was made by Dr. Isiaku Mohammed on behalf of the DMO DG during a recent workshop for financial journalists in Abuja by the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Office.

In the section titled “Challenges to Sustainability”, the DG of DMO reportedly said, “Arrears clearance is still low in most states.”

the punch reported last September that state governments including Kano, Benue, Osun, Delta, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers and Kwara owed pensioners, with many dying without receiving their entitlements.

Union leaders and officials of the Pensioners Union of Nigeria had told The PUNCH in separate interviews that in addition to not paying contributory pensions, pensioners from the defined benefit scheme were owed.

However, state government officials attributed the delay in paying pensions and gratuities to the country’s weak economy and assured retirees that entitlements would be paid as soon as their cash flow improved.

Monday, the punch reported that state workers and retirees were bearing the brunt of a cash crunch in the country, with many state governments failing to ensure regular payment of salaries, gratuities and other entitlements.

Union leaders, who spoke separately to our correspondents in Ekiti, Benue, Ogun, Ondo, Rivers, Abia, Ondo, Edo and Kano states, noted that retirees were the most affected by the inability of governors to fulfill their responsibilities.

Our correspondents’ findings showed that deductions made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee had continued to deplete funds shared by the three levels of government at FAAC meetings.

NNPC had explained that its FAAC deductions were due to the huge subsidy expenses it was incurring.

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