Saturday, 30 April 2016

It’s difficult running states now – Gov. Ambode




The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, says it has become difficult running states in the face of the dwindling economy.
He said it is necessary to do something drastic whenever financial inflows do not tally with fixed costs as it is currently the case in many states of the federation.
Ambode spoke with journalists on Friday shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari had on Thursday said that most states of the federation could not pay their workers’ salaries despite the recent bailout approved for them by the Federal Government.
Ambode, who said his mission was to come and thank Buhari for placing Lagos State projects at the front burner during his recent visit to China, said state governors were right to seek moratorium on loans and other reliefs from the Federal Government.
He said drastic decisions must be taken to ensure that states remain afloat.
Ambode said, “There is nothing wrong in asking for moratorium. Lagos State has just restructured its bond programme. It is about financial intelligence.
“The states are not saying they are not going to pay back. We are saying that based on the present circumstances, we can hold down principal payments and just take interest.
“Maybe for a while, let us also ask for moratorium to be able to pay the principal at a future date.
“The issue is that you cannot operate a state in the manner in which the financial inflows are coming now. It is very difficult. We have to be realistic.
“It is like any other organisation. If the inflows are not up to what the fixed costs are like, you have to do something drastic and that is what we are all doing.
“I am an accountant first before being a politician. You need to see the numbers. The numbers do not tally.
“It has nothing to do with the status you are finding yourself now. It is about the past record, it is about the present status and it is about taking drastic decisions to be able to allow the states to stay afloat.”
Ambode, however, said Lagos State was the major beneficiary of Buhari’s recent visit to China.
“There are many benefits coming to Lagos State. That is why it is important to come and thank him personally,” he said.
On those who criticised Buhari for the visit, Ambode said there was nothing that could be done in form of policies and programmes that would not attract criticism.
What is important, according to the governor, is about the majority of people who are going to benefit from the trip.
“For Lagos, we cannot do any other thing than to say thank you,” he said.
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