The Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Monday said the federal government would need to refund a total of N7 billion to the state, being the amount spent by the state government to fix federal roads.
He made this known while receiving the minister of state for transport, Gbemisola Saraki, and other officials at the governor’s office, Alagbaka in Akure, the state capital.
Ms Saraki’s visit had to do with the verification of federal government road projects fixed by the state for possible reimbursement.
The federal government had earlier taken a position not to refund unverified monies spent by the state governments in the repair of federal roads due to the huge amounts being claimed by the state governments.
President Muhammadu Buhari was reportedly presented a bill of about N1 trillion when he assumed office in 2015 as the aggregate amount being owed states by the federal government for federal road repairs.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, during his visit to Ondo State November last year, also reiterated the position, saying the federal government would not pay any refund until properly verified.
Mr Fashola had complained that the bill currently before the federal government was running into about N500 billion.
But Mr Akeredolu expressed optimism that by the time the federal government officials completed their verification and carried out its deductions, the state should be able to receive over N5 billion.
He noted that such repayment would go a long way in assisting the state on project execution and payment of salary arrears.
“The claim is in the neigbourhood of about N7 billion. I am sure that by the time they look at it, do all their verifications, if there are going to be deductions here and there, we should be able to have over N5 billion to come into the state,” the governor said.
“These are monies that have been spent and the roads have been completed over the years, so they are verifiable.
“We believe that this will go along way in assisting us on projects and payment of salary arrears.”
Mr Akeredolu also sought the support of the visiting minister on the actualisation of a port in Ondo.
He said the project was crucial to his administration.
He said the idea was to decongest Lagos State and open up the riverine area in Ondo State for better economic activities.
Meanwhile, Mrs Saraki assured the state governor that her team would be fair as they carried out their verification exercise.
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