Ambode: Current Financial Inflows Make it Hard for States to Survive

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By Tobi Soniyi

Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, has said that governors are finding it difficult to run their states with the current financial in-flows in the country.

Ambode, who spoke with State House correspondents in Abuja, said he was at the Presidential Villa to thank President Muhammadu Buhari on behalf of Lagos State and the people of the state for the outcome of his visit to China.

He maintained that the cash crunch that hit the country had made it imperative for state governors to devise means of survival which include their demand for moratorium on the payment of their debts.

Asked for his comments on the demand by states for moratorium on their debt, 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 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 state’s to stay afloat.”

On the purpose of his visit to the pesident, he said “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.

“You will recall that Lagos State is a major beneficiary of that visit. The Lagos metro rail project of about $2.5bn is being signed up by Nigeria and the President.

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