The Federal Executive Council (FEC) Wednesday approved the reimbursement of N148.1 billion expended on federal roads by Bayelsa, Cross River, Osun, Ondo and Rivers state governments.
Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly FEC meeting in Abuja, said the funds were approved following a memo by the Minister of Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola.
He said Cross River would receive N18,394,737,608.85; Ondo, N7,822,147,577; Osun, N2,468,938,876.78; Bayelsa, N38,040,564,783.40; and Rivers, N78,953,067,518.29.
The minister said the Federal Executive Council warned that there would be no reimbursement in the future should any state government venture into such projects without approval from the federal government.
“You will recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation sent a very huge bill to the federal government, asking fo compensation for money that they have expended on federal roads. This prompted Mr. President to set up a committee to go and verify the claims of these 36 states, whether indeed these projects were actually constructed, were they completed, in line with the federal government standards.
“At the end of that exercise by an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the honorable minister of works and housing but also had ministers of education, transportation, finance, minister of state go works, DG BPP and permanent secretary cabinet office as members.
“At the end of that exercise, the committee recommended that the federal government should refund N550,364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that, yes indeed, the projects were completed and there were federal government roads. But the claims of five other states Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun failed on the grounds that they did not do proper documentation and they committee felt they needed proper documentation.
“So, the committee went back with a new terms of reference to ensure that the claims of the five states were in order, that is why the BPP is on the committee. So at the end of the exercise, the committee now reported that the five states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85, Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08, and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78.
“Others are Bayelsa with five roads and one bridge is to get a refund of N38,040,564,783.40 and Rivers with three roads and three flyovers bridges is to get a refund of N78,953,067,518.29,” he said.
He said the committees confirmed the roads and the bridges were not only completed, but in substantial good form, stressing that some of the bridges and roads were built about 10 years ago.
“There is a caveat, the federal government will pay the states but however, henceforth, if any state takes on federal government road, it will not be paid, they will not get any refund.
“Even if you want to pay from your own pocket, you will still need the permission of the federal government and it will be supervised by the federal ministry of works and housing,” he said.
He said the modalities of refund is being worked out, and that payment would be made over a period of time.
He said 31 states were earlier paid over N500 billion.