Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Naira Rain : Federal govt., states to share N391billion from Excess Crude Account

Federal govt., states to share N391billion from Excess Crude Account
The federal government and the 36 states have agreed to share $1.7billion of the $2billion balance in the Excess Crude Account.

After the amount, which is about N391billion, is shared, there will be just about $.3billion remaining in the account which was created to help the two tiers of government save for raining days.

The Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, had told journalists after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, last Tuesday, that following a spate of curious withdrawals from the account by the last administration, only $2billion was left in the account.

President Muhammadu Buhari had recently raised a committee to explore the possibility of sharing revenue from the account after state governments, some of which are owing months of salaries to their workers, approached him for bailout.

The newly appointed Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, said in Abuja at the end of the briefing session by permanent secretaries of the Ministries with President Muhammadu Buhari that this would help the states settle outstanding salaries of workers and other commitments.

Mr. Oshiomhole had recently clashed with the immediate past Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, over claims and counter-claims on the balance in the ECA left by the Jonathan administration.

Mr. Oshiomhole had at the end of the National Economic Council last week Tuesday accused Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala of masterminding the withdrawal and expenditure of $2.1bn from the $4.1bn left in the ECA “without authorization”.

However, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala dismissed the allegations, describing it as “false, malicious and totally without foundation.” Mr. Oshiomhole has continued to insist what was left in the account as at November 2014 was $4.1 bn.

After receiving briefings from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Idris told reporters that FAAC would soon meet to distribute the amount agreed by the states and approved by the NEC meeting last week.

“The position is very clear, what we met on ground is what we are going to distribute,” he said. 

“What we met on ground is hovering between $1.6 bn to $1.7 bn, and that is what we are going to distribute among all the three tiers of governments based on the approved formula.”

At the end of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee meeting for the month of May 2015, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Anastasia Daniel-Nwokobia, said the balance in foreign denominated ECA stood at about $2.078bn.

She did not say what the balance in the naira denominated ECA was.

The AGF said President Buhari’s view on the issue is clear, particularly regarding his administration’s desire to achieve “prudent management of resources” and the need for states to identify alternative revenue generating sources as well as manage available “meagre resources” for the betterment of the economy.

In her briefing notes, Mrs. Daniel-Nwokobia, had said the country’s finances were in a good state, despite challenges posed by the drastic drop in global oil prices from an average of $100 per barrels to about $58 per barrel on Monday.

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