- How nine oil-producing states received N625.4b in two years, by FG
- N860.59 billion outstanding will be paid, Buhari vows
- Akwa Ibom: We’ve ‘over-declared’ receipts, Fed Govt figures validate Edo, says Commissioner
Stakeholders in the oil producing states are turning on more heat on their governors over the handling of the N625.4 billion which the Presidency confirmed yesterday as having been released to them between October 2, 2021 and January 11, 2022.
The nine oil producing states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers are expected to share an outstanding balance of N860.59 billion in further refunds, according to Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
The highest refunds already disbursed went to Akwa Ibom which got N128 billion,Delta N110billion,Rivers N103billion and Bayelsa N92.2 billion.
Rivers State Nyesom Wike had recently thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for releasing the money to the oil producing states which he said was what he has been using to execute landmark projects in his state.
He wondered what his colleagues in the other states were doing with their own funds.
But moments after the Presidency threw more light on the development yesterday, Port Harcourt –based Integrity Friends for Truth and Peace Initiatives (IFTPI) slammed most of the oil producing states governors for impoverishing their people despite the huge sums of money released to them by the Federal Government.
It said their action smacked of wickedness.
Uyo, Akwa Ibom State based Policy Alert said the state government was not telling the people the whole truth about the money.
Speaking on the situation, the Executive Director of IFTPI , Livingstone Wechie, said it was obvious that most of the governors had not been coming clean with the people on the finances of their states.
He said: “The recent Pandora box of the 13 percent derivation payment by the federal government to the oil producing states leaves so much to be desired.
“The fact that the payment of these monies running into hundreds of billions which hitherto became a secret was made public by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State speaks volumes on how monies meant for the development of the Niger Delta region are mismanaged or diverted.
“What is most appalling and curious is the fact that the figures the states claim to have received from the federal government during the period after the whistle blowing are conflicting with the records released by the federal government.
“It is important to state that these governors have been very unfair and wicked to their states particularly during this period of economic crisis.
“The federal government should be publishing every kobo paid to any state or local government at all times to show transparency and probity. This is what open governance should be about. This will help checkmate cases of excessive impropriety and malfeasance by public office holders.
“By this development, the federal government should take further steps to show commitment to fighting fiscal recklessness beyond the usual rhetoric. This is because the instant situation seriously indicts the federal government as aiding fiscal irresponsibility in the management of tax payers’ monies with states.
“This is unarguably expressed in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which for years now has not been making remittance to the Federation Account and this administration sees nothing wrong with such lethal fraud.
“The federal government is therefore challenged to come out clean on the state of fiscal affairs as it concerns the NNPC as part of the anchors for economic rebounding plans to salvage Nigeria from further socio-economic woes.”
In Uyo, the Executive Director of Policy Alert, Mr. Tijah Bolton-Akpan, said Akwa Ibom State government was economical with the figures.
Policy Alert is a non-governmental organisation championing financial accountability and good governance.
Akpan said: “The Akwa Ibom state government is not transparent when it comes to disclosing figures. The people want figures.
“Figures about the13 percent oil derivation refunds and other revenues are still shrouded in secrecy. The people want transparency and accountability.”
A foremost human rights activist, Kola Edokpayi, accused Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, of taking for granted the residents of the Southsouth state, for allegedly not being sincere and transparent in the utilisation of funds from oil derivation, subsidy and SURE-P refunds.
Edokpayi, yesterday declared that Obaseki would not be allowed to continually deceive the residents of the state.
The activist stated that residents of Edo deserved more than they were receiving from Obaseki, in terms of infrastructural development, thereby asking him to stop his administration’s “hub” deceit.
How nine oil-producing states received N625.4b in two years, by FG
Mallam Garba Shehu, in a statement yesterday ,had revealed that the nine oil-producing states received a total of N625.43 billion 13 percent oil derivation, subsidy and SURE-P refunds from the Federation Account between 1999 and 2021.
Said he:”Data obtained from the Federation Account Department, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, show that a total of N477.2 billion was released to the nine states as refund of the 13 percent derivation fund on withdrawal from Excess Crude Account (ECA) without deducting derivation from 2004 to 2019, leaving an outstanding balance of N287.04 billion.
“The states also got N64.8 billion as refund of the 13 per cent derivation fund on deductions made by NNPC without payment of derivation to Oil Producing States from 1999 to December.”
He said the benefitting states still have an outstanding balance of N860.59 billion windfall from the refunds.
Continuing, he said:”According to the figures, under the 13 per cent derivation fund on withdrawal from ECA without deducting derivation from 2004 to 2019, Abia State received N4.8 billion with outstanding sum of N2.8 billion, Akwa-Ibom received N128 billion with outstanding sum of N77 billion, Bayelsa with N92.2bn, leaving an outstanding of N55 billion.
“Cross River got a refund N1.3 billion with a balance N792 million, Delta State received N110 billion, leaving a balance of N66.2 billion, Edo State received N11.3billion, with a balance of N6.8billion, Imo State, N5.5 billion, with an outstanding sum of N3.3 billion, Ondo State, N19.4 billion with an outstanding sum of N11.7bn while Rivers State was paid 103.6 billion, with an outstanding balance of N62.3 billion.
“The states were paid in eight installments between October 2, 2021 and January 11, 2022, while the ninth to twelfth installments are still outstanding.
“On the 13 per cent derivation fund on deductions made by NNPC without payment of derivation, the nine oil producing States were paid in three installments this year, with the remaining 17 installments outstanding.
“Under this category, Abia State received N1.1 billion, Akwa-Ibom, N15 billion, Bayelsa, N11.6 billion, Cross River, N432 million, Delta State, N14.8 billion, Edo State, N2.2 billion, Imo State, N2.9, billion, Ondo State, N3.7 billion, and Rivers State, N12.8 billion.
“Meanwhile, the benefitting states shared N9.2 billion in three installments in April, August and November 2022 as refunds on the 13 per cent derivation exchange rate differential on withdrawal from the ECA.
“The three largest benefitting states were Akwa Ibom (N1.6billion), Delta State (N1.4billion) and Rivers State (N1.32billion).
“Similarly, all the nine states received N4.7 billion each, totaling N42.34 billion as refunds on withdrawals for subsidy and SURE-P from 2009 to 2015. The refund, which is for all the states and local government councils, was paid on 10th November, 2022.
“The Federation Account also paid N3.52billion each as refund to local government councils on withdrawals for subsidy and SURE-P from 2009 to 2015 on the same date in November.
“President Buhari considers it a matter of honour and decency that debts owed to states or anyone for that matter be repaid, and in time without regards to their partisan political affiliations.
“The President will continue to render equal service to all the states of the federation and an acknowledgment of this by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the others is not out of place.
“The refunds to the oil producing states will continue.”
A’Ibom has over declared refunds
Defending itself yesterday the Akwa Ibom State government said contrary to suggestions in some quarters it had over declared amounts received in respect of the 13 percent oil derivation and others.
Information Commissioner Iniobong Ememobong said the state has provided sufficient information backed with figures of the 13 percent refunds and other revenues.
Ememobong, who referred our correspondent to the Commissioner for finance, said, “the State House statement is self-explanatory. There is no ambiguity.
“The commissioner for finance can provide you with the figures but I can safely tell you that the government has even over declared. What that means is that the federal government is even owing the state.”
We’ve been vindicated, says Edo govt
In a separate reaction, the Edo State Government said it had been vindicated on the matter as the figures “further validate the figures that we released on November 23, 2022.”
Communication and Orientation Commissioner Chris Nehikhare said in Benin yesterday that accountability would remain the watchword of the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki and “all resources accruable to Edo State will be prudently and transparently utilised for the good of the majority of Edo people.”
He said the confirmation from the Presidency “ has put to rest the irresponsible pastime of political detractors and unprogressive elements who resorted to conjuring up very ridiculous and absurd figures in their desperation to dubiously market themselves in the political space in this electioneering campaign season.
“For the records, the State House Press Release said: ‘On the 13 per cent derivation fund on deductions made by NNPC without payment of derivation, the nine oil producing states were paid in three installments this year, with the remaining 17 installments outstanding.’
“Recall that on Wednesday, November 23, 2022, the Commissioner for Finance, Budget, Economic Planning and Development, Mr. Joseph Eboigbe, told journalists that Edo State ’s share of the one trillion naira 13 percent derivation refund that is due the oil producing States in Nigeria is N28 billion, and so far, N2.1 billion has been received.
According to Eboigbe, ‘Edo State’s share of that figure was N28 billion. A small figure out of the N1 trillion that was what got to us.
“So we have received three quarterly releases so far, N700 million, N700 Million, N700 million, totaling N2.1billion. That is what has come into the state’s coffers and it is verifiable in the bank, and the office of the Accountant General has the records.
“‘Our share was N28 billion, the net is to be distributed over five years, quarterly, that will be 20 quarterly installmental releases, three have come so far, each has been N700 million, N700 million, N700 million and how that money was spent again, we have the records for anybody that wishes to see.’
“We stand by the figures that we released, which have been validated by the State House, and Edo people have no reason to worry as we are committed to finish stronger.”
Lies cannot excuse FG’s failure of Nigeria’s 133 million poor, Obaseki’s aide tells Budget Minister, Agba
Also yesterday,the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie, accused the Federal Government of “telling lies in the face of indisputable evidence of bad leadership, poor economic management and general insecurity.”
This situation, the governor’s aide said, has thrown over 133 million Nigerians into debilitating poverty and “cannot excuse the Federal Government’s economic managers from blame for poor performance and unforgivable blunders.”
Osagie was responding to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, who, during a press briefing after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, blamed Nigeria’s 36 state governors for the 133 million people who have descended into multidimensional poverty.
He noted that much as the Minister blamed the 36 state governors for the development, Edo State has maintained a transparent budgeting and fiscal management regime with the routine publication of its annual financial reports and other financial dealings for public scrutiny, a trend which, Osagie noted, could not be said of Agba’s ministry and its sister agencies.
Osagie said the prudent management of the state’s finances is responsible for its high ranking in the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report, which placed the state among the seven states that are least impacted by multidimensional poverty in Nigeria.
Addressing Agba’s claims, the governor’s aide said: “It is rather unnerving that the Federal Government, which takes the lion share of the revenue accruing to the three tiers of government will turn around to accuse the two other tiers of government for failing the people. The Federal Government takes 56 percent from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) and shares the balance 44 percent between the States and Local Governments.
“In a time when these revenues have continued to dwindle as a result of the poor management of the economy by the Federal Government, who now resorts to borrowing to pay its workers, it is laughable that Agba is casting aspersions on states as a pretext to hide their failures.
“At this juncture, it is also pertinent to ask the question: what is the geographical jurisdiction of the Federal Government? Is it not just the Federal Capital Territory and a few terribly managed Federal Government infrastructure within the various states of the federation? Where does the Federal Government spend its allocation?
“How will it dare to absolve itself of blame when a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which it commissioned, returned a verdict of failure in the wake of its parroting of an ineffective Social Investment Programme (SIP).”
Osagie said that despite increased government spending on security and defense, the handlers of Nigeria have severely failed to secure the people, with many unable to go about their lawful businesses around the country.
He said: “It would be putting it mildly to say that the Federal Government has failed abysmally on security, which has not only affected movement, a key economic activity, but also farming, which contributes about 70 percent to Nigeria’s GDP.
“It is so bad that our people in the rural areas cannot move around and take their farm produce to market as a result of insecurity. The inability to move has obviously affected their economic status and everyone would confirm that this has seriously affected their wellbeing, leading to multidimensional poverty.”
Osagie noted that while the Minister had charged governors for not constructing rural roads, it is telling that rural roads that have been built cannot be used because of the activities of bandits and kidnappers, who now operate unhindered along these roads.
“After spearheading the demise of the country’s economy, Agba’s attempt to shift the blame to the state governments is disrespectful to Nigerians, to say the least.
“Nigerians deserve a public and unreserved apology from Agba. He should advise his bosses and work with his colleagues to reduce poverty and suffering in the country.”