Bailout Necessary, But Must Be Discouraged – Ubani | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Cover Choice, POLITICS

Bailout Necessary, But Must Be Discouraged – Ubani

Posted: Jul 12, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Monday Onyedikachi Ubani was the Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch. In this interview with AUGUSTINE ADAH he expresses mixed feelings on the bailout granted to state governments to enable them settle their outstanding salaries. Excerpts…



What do you think are some implications of the recent bailout to governors to enable them settle outstanding staff salaries?

There is a serious problem at the moment because the people have worked for some months and they are supposed to receive their salaries and the salaries for some months have not been paid, the people are suffering. Ordinarily, the bailout is not the best thing but it appears to be the only option available to solve the problem at the moment. If you look at the money to be shared among the three tiers of government, both the excess crude account, profit from Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and the loan from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), you discover  that the money belong to the three tiers of government   except the soft loan from CBN.

Both the three tiers of government are entitled to Excess Crude Account and the profit from LNG. Looking at the present situation in the country, no serious government would close its eye to the suffering of the people without looking for means of solving the problem. In that case the bailout is the only way out.  At the same time, it should not be further encouraged every time because it is not the best method.

We all know that many governors used their revenue allocations for campaign projects and other electioneering activities and at the end they cannot pay the people they employed to work for them.  The policy of bail out itself encourages corruption if is allowed to continue because the governors would mismanage their resources and run back to the federal government for bailout.

Therefore, I would suggest that while it is necessary to consider it because of the peculiar situation we find ourselves at the moment, however, it must be discouraged in future. Even the Excess Crude Account that we are talking about is supposed to be money reserved for future generations but we are using it now because of the inability of some state governors to be prudent in the management of their resources. From what has been happening, you discover that the governors have not been adding value to the economy.  They have not added value in the area of road construction, provision of health facilities to the people, water and other infrastructure. As far as I am concerned, while bailout at this present moment becomes the only option, the governors must be made to understand that this kind of opportunity does not exist every time.  When they were going out about spending huge amount for campaigns and other things that has no direct impact in the lives of the people, they should have known that civil servants who have worked at the end of 30 days deserve to be paid before every other thing. Now that we are just talking of settling salary arrears, it is difficult for them to think of providing the dividends of democracy to the people, especially  those at the grassroots.