The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, has disclosed plans by the Federal Government to refund debts owed the 36 states by paying them N20billion apiece, a total of N720bn.
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.
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 that 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 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 were 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 in.
“By doing so, Nigerians 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 potentials 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.”