The Finance Minister of State, Mr. Remi Babalola has disclosed that the Federal Government through the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) had settled the share of the Paris Club debt exit refund due to the 774 Local Government Councils.
He however did not disclose if the refunds were made directly to the local government councils or through their states that control State Local Government Joint Accounts.
According to the minister, the funds were withheld due to a court injunction. “Given a recent judgment by an Abuja High Court on the substantive matter, we have paid all the amounts due to the Local Government Councils as refunds for the Paris Club debt exit in line with the pronouncement of the court of law,” he said.
Babalola who is also the FAAC chairman noted that the Federal Government was also commitment in the improvement of available data on Federation Account allocation to all tiers of government in the country. He said the government remains resolute in its commitment towards a transparent and accountable Federation Account.
He assured that FAAC would continue to adhere strictly to the enabling Act which mandated the Committee to share allocations from the Federation Account to the three tiers of government in line with the extant laws of revenue allocation.
He stated, “Without being immodest, let me reiterate that we have conducted the business of FAAC in a more pragmatic manner than what it used to be in previous years. We have ensured strict adherence to the enabling Act by maintaining openness and fairness in the distraction of the revenue from the Federation Account.
“There is no better way to achieve integrity and accountability within government and government transactions than by promoting transparency and openness. Nigerians must be able to know how the operations of the Federation Account work and have confidence that the authority vested in us has been exercised appropriately.”
The Federation Account is made up of all federally collected revenues including receipts from oil and gas sales locally and internationally, royalties and Value Added Tax, among others. The revenues from the Federation Account are distributed monthly among the three tiers of government by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) chaired by Babalola.