8 November 2017

Nigeria: Senate Scraps Excess Crude Account

Photo: Premium Times
Nigerian Senate

The Senate yesterday passed a resolution abolishing the Excess Crude Account (ECA) setup in 2004 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The resolution followed a motion sponsored by Rose Oko (PDP, Cross River) and 44 others, tagged: " The Excess Crude Account: an illegality and a drain pipe".

However, while Oko advocated for the suspension of the ECA, Senator Mohammed Hassan (PDP, Yobe) moved for the amendment of the prayer to recommend the scrapping of the account, which was supported by all.

The Senate also passed a resolution requesting the executive to pay the amount above the oil benchmark into the Federation Account in compliance with the Constitution.

The senators however voted against the constitution of an Ad-hoc committee to investigate the revenue that accrued to the ECA from 2004.

Oko had described the ECA is alien to the 1999 constitution as amended or any known law in the country.

She said a report by the National Resource Governance Institute rates Nigeria's Excess Crude Account as one of the most poorly managed around the world, where its operation is discretionary and at the whims of the Executive.

"For instance, it was reported that the ECA increased from $5.16 billion in 2005 to over $20billion in 2008, and decreased to less than $4billion by 2010 with no known tracking of its operations. In 2013, it was purported that $5billion was missing from the ECA, and that $2billion was withdrawn without authorization;

"These accusations between tiers of government portray a financial system that is flawed and without probity. By May 2017, Government announced a resumption of payment into the ECA of $87million ostensibly since May, 2015 arbitrarily. However, between May, 2015 and August, 2017 about $122.2million had accrued and ought to have been paid to the ECA," she said.

Seconding the motion, Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi) said the management of the ECA was not transparent.

"If we scrap this, it would go a long way in bringing transparency in the management of the country's resources. It should be abolished," he said.

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