Gov Ambode

Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos state, on Friday said the manner of financial inflows into states has made it “very difficult” to operate without moratorium.
Speaking after a private visit to President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, Ambode defended the decision of the Nigeria governors’ forum (NGF) to demand 18 months moratorium on debts owed by the federal government.
Ambode admitted that the current challenges are overwhelming, but expressed optimism that things would be brought under control.
“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,” he said.
“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 state’s to stay afloat.
”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 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.”
He said he decided to visit the president to thank him on the outcome of his visit to China, which will be of immense benefit to the people of Lagos.
“The reason I am here today is to come and thank the President on behalf of Lagos State and the people of the state on the outcome of his visit to China,” he said.
“You will recall that Lagos state is a major beneficiary of that visit. The Lagos metro rail project of about $2.5 billion is being signed up by Nigeria and the president.
“The Lagos-Kano rail project and other projects are also there. There are many benefits coming to Lagos State. That is why it is important to come and thank him personally.”

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