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Buhari approves disbursement of $150m from Sovereign Stabilisation Fund to cushion COVID-19 effect

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the withdrawal of 150 million dollars from the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) Stabilization Fund to support the June 2020 FAAC disbursement.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed disclosed this during a news conference on the fiscal stimulus measures; in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and oil prices fiscal shock in Abuja on Monday, April 6.

Ahmed said that the fund approved by Buhari was also to address these emerging fiscal risks that the pandemic had caused.

She noted that the Stabilization Fund was created for such emergencies and was to be utilised for this purpose; while the government was also exploring other options to augment FAAC disbursements over the course of the 2020 fiscal year.

She explained that based on the fiscal assumptions underpinning the 2020 Appropriation Act; monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) disbursements to the Federal and State Governments were projected at N888.5 billion.

According to her, their experience shows that monthly average FAAC receipts must average at least N650 billion for the Federal and State Governments to meet their current obligations.

“President Buhari has also approved that the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning should engage with the CBN to agree on a Debt and Interest Moratorium for States on Federal Government and CBN-funded loans; in order to create fiscal space for the States; given the projected shortfalls in FAAC allocations.

“Accordingly, once the monthly average FAAC receipts fall below a specific threshold, interest and capital payments by States shall be suspended till monthly average FAAC receipts exceed the threshold.

“The details of this Moratorium will be expeditiously worked out with a view to submitting the final proposals for Mr. President’s guidance and final approvals.

“This intervention is vital to create fiscal space for the States; as they deal with the health and economic impact of the crisis.

“States will also be encouraged to explore similar arrangements for their outstanding debts to Commercial Banks,” she explained.

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