14 February 2014

Nigeria: Excess Crude Account Now U.S.$2.1 Billion

The Excess Crude Account (ECA), which was created to provide succour in rainy days for the federation, now has only about $2.1 billion in its kitty.

The depletion of the ECA from about $11 billion in December 2012, has been seriously disputed by analysts, who see the withdrawals as unwarranted.

The current status of ECA emerged yesterday at the meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), where a total statutory revenue of N629.128 billion was shared among the three-tiers of government for January.

But regardless of the serious disruptions in oil production and lifting operations occasioned by maintenance, multiple leaks, pipeline vandalism and theft in the period under review, gross revenue during the month increased to N540.870 billion compared to N479.950 billion recorded last December.

Also, revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT) increased to about N82.2 billion in January compared to about N64.7 billion in the previous month.

Addressing journalists in Abuja, at the end of the monthly meeting of the committee, Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Jonah Otunla, said mineral revenue for the month stood at N439.562 billion, while the non-oil component was N101.308 billion.

Giving a breakdown of the statutory distribution, he said the federal government received N235.022 billion, while the 36 states shared N119.206 billion and the 774 local governments got N91.903 billion.

The sum of N52.309 billion was allocated to the oil and gas producing regions under the derivation formula. In addition, the federal government got N11.848 billion from the VAT distribution, while the states received N39.493 billion and the local governments shared N27.645 billion.

Also shared was the N7.617 billion refund from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as N35.549 billion under the Subsidy Reinvestment Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). Yesterday's meeting was attended by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who had been invited by the committee to discuss some of the burning issues in FAAC and re-establish confidence in the committee.

Her presence at the meeting had become necessary following the exit of the Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama, who was among four cabinet members President Goodluck Jonathan dropped on Wednesday.

Ngama's era as FAAC chairman was turbulent as members of the committee accused him of running the FAAC as if it were his private business. FAAC meetings had also become a nocturnal affair under his watch.

However, the AGF said the meeting had resolved to admit representations from all the revenue generating agencies to the monthly meeting in order to get more transparency in revenue collections and remittances into the Federation Account.

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