Vanguard (Lagos)

16 January 2013

Africa: FG Declines Release of U.S.$1 Billion From ECA

Abuja — The Federal Government has declined the request by the 36 state governors to disburse $1 billion (about N157 billion) from the Excess Crude Account, ECA, in December.

This was even as the three tiers of government shared N467.007 billion from the Federation Account for the month of December.

Minister of State for Finance, Dr Yerima Ngama, made this known, Tuesday night in Abuja at the monthly Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, meeting, pointing out that the Federal Government "accessed" $1billion from the account in December to offset the fuel subsidy claims to oil marketers.

He said the withdrawal followed the approval of a Supplementary Budget of N161 billion for fuel subsidy payments by the National Assembly.

He said: "We withdrew the amount ($1 billion) to pay subsidy to oil marketers but not on the account for distribution to governors based on their request.

"Because of the withdrawal, we had a dip in the excess crude account, but yet we have credited the account (in December) with N91.70 billion and that will bring the total to $9.20 billion. '

"This shows that we have really met our target of having to save $10 billion in the ECA for the year 2012. Because if not for the Supplementary Budget, we could have ended up with over $10 billion."

The minister told newsmen that with over $42 billion foreign reserves, the country had more than enough to pay for three months' import.

He noted: "The finances of this country are in solid state and this is credit to the exemplary leadership style of President Goodluck Jonathan's administration."

FG, states, LGs share N467bn

A breakdown of the figures showed that the Federal Government received N217.42 billion (52.68 per cent), state governments N110.28 billion (26.72 per cent) and the local governments got N85.02 billion.

According to the minister, the Value Added Tax, VAT, distributed for the month was N57.53 billion, compared to N62.7 billion in November.

Also, N49.7 billion representing 13 per cent oil derivation was shared among the oil producing states for December.

Proceeds from Value Added Tax of N57. 535 billion was equally shared as follows: Federal Government N8.2 billion; states-- N27. 6 billion and local governments-N19. 3 billion.

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