Govt Revenue Reduced By N77bn As ECA Shrinks To $1.83bn
After two days of disagreement between the 36 states’ commissioners for finance and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation over alleged revenue underpayment, the Federation Account Allocation Committee finally distributed the sum of N626.82bn to the three tiers of government on Thursday.
The allocation, which was supposed to have been done on Tuesday, was delayed following claims that the NNPC underpaid about N12bn into the coffers of the government.
But at the reconvened meeting on Thursday held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance, the committee agreed to share N626.82bn for the month of March.
This, according to the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, is to allow the three tiers of government to pay workers’ salaries before the end of this month, while reconciliation with the corporation is ongoing.
Addressing journalists shortly after the meeting, the AGF put the gross statutory revenue for the month of March at N480.59bn.
This, he added, was N77.34bn lower than the N557.94bn generated in February.
Idris explained that crude oil export sales decreased by 13 per cent in March when compared with the 5.42 million barrels from the previous month.
He said the 13 per cent decrease in crude oil exports volume led to a reduction in revenue from federation crude oil exports by $33.58m.
While the average crude oil price increased from $63.08 to $65.72 per barrel, he noted that the production shutdown at various terminals for repairs and maintenance affected oil revenue.
However, Idris stated that there was a considerable rise in oil royalty for the month, while Companies’ Income Tax and import duty recorded marginal increases.
On the breakdown of the N626.82bn allocated by the committee, he said after deducting the cost of collection to the revenue generating agencies, the Federal Government received N263.1bn.
The sum of N167.61bn was distributed among the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory, while the 774 local government were allocated N126.29bn.
In addition, the sum of N54.5bn was shared to the oil producing states based on the 13 per cent derivation principle.
Idris put the current balance in the Excess Crude Account at $1.83bn as against the $2.3bn last month.
President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the withdrawal of $496m from the ECA for the payment for Tucano aircraft to be supplied by the United States to boost the fight against insecurity.
When asked when the NNPC would remit the underpaid revenue to the Federation Account, the AGF stated, “The reconciliation is ongoing. There is no public finance system that will be devoid of reconciliation at any time.
“So, reconciliation is part of the order and in that particular instance, reconciliation that started last month continued this month and there is nothing new.
“We couldn’t meet yesterday (Wednesday) because we felt certain milestones had to be reached and on getting to those milestones, we sat today and considered the figures for distribution.”
When asked how much the NNPC was to remit, Idris said that would be determined when the reconciliation was concluded.
He added, “On the amount that we are expecting to come in from the NNPC, we don’t talk on mere speculation or hearsay.
“We have to wait for the amount to come and we will know what will be distributed. We don’t base our projections on speculations; there has to be factual data.”