Friday, July 17, 2015

At Least $84.52 billion Excess Crude Fund Unaccounted For In 8 Years

At least N11.55 trillion or $84.52 billion expected revenue into the coffers of the nation’s Excess Crude Account for the eight-year period from 2007 to 2014 are unaccounted for, according to findings by PREMIUM TIMES based on now available data from multiple government agencies not made public until now.

The ECA accounting has remained perhaps one of the most opaque public fund mechanisms in the country, puzzling even state governors who repeatedly challenged former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for lack of transparency and accountability regarding the organization of the fund.

After a recent National Economic Council meeting in Abuja, a committee of state governors angrily lashed at Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, accusing her office, as supervisors of the fund, of arbitrariness and probably illegality in the management of a fund meant for the three tiers of government but which the ministry of finance apparently ran as a sole federal government fund.

PREMIUM TIMES arrived at its computation based on differentials between expected accruals and actual withdrawals from the ECA honey pot.

Based on their reporting, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC] and the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] claim that for the eight years in review, no fewer than N23.79 trillion was deposited into the ECA fund.

In its own accounting, the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee [FAAC] reported that for the same period, N10.58 trillion was withdrawn from the fund.

Although no where in the FAAC reporting was the N1.3 trillion ad-hoc domestic infrastructural investment and capital-intensive spending on the National Integrated Power Projects [NIPP] indicated, PREMIUM TIMES accommodated it in its analysis to arrive at the N11.55 trillion unaccounted ECA revenue.

Our estimate can even be said to be conservative given that we did not compute  what could have accrued to the ECA from crude allocated to the NNPC for domestic refining, but which almost always ended up being sold abroad because of the bad shape of Nigeria’s four refineries.

It is instructive to note that for the first 41 months from January 2007 to May 2010, there was no single public record of transfers into the ECA by FAAC.

After the questionable 41-month silence on ECA reporting, the FAAC curiously resumed reporting in June 2010 till the end of the review period during which N7.16 trillion accrued to the national coffers.

It remains unknown if this unaccounted funds were stolen or mismanaged and if federal law enforcement authorities are currently reviewing the process.

The spokesperson for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wilson Uwujaren, said he had no information about any ongoing investigation regarding the ECA.

But concerned by what appeared a lack of accountability in the management of the account, the National Economic Council [NEC] on June 29 raised a four-man committee to examine accruals into and withdrawals from the Federation Account and the Excess Crude Account from 2012 to May 2015.

Members of the committee are Governors Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom, Ibrahim Dankwabo of Gombe and Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna.

The panel’s report is still being awaited.

Read more HERE

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