Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Yerima-Ngama Lawan
By James Emejo
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is to repay the N450 billion debt it is owing to the federation account in 32 instalments, bringing to an end, the long drawn controversy over the repayment plan.
Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Yerima-Ngama Lawan, told journalists Tuesday after the monthly meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) that the whole issue had been addressed and the corporation should have effected the first payment by September 1, 2011. It has not done that yet.
Lawan said the agreement, however, allows the corporation to pay in excess of the agreed plan whenever it had surplus money in its purse to fast-track the settlement.
If the amount is to be paid in equal proportion, it means NNPC would disburse about N14.06 billion into the federation account on every payment schedule.
Commenting further on the debt repayment plan, the minister said: “For an amount like that, one has to have a schedule of payment and the repayment will commence.
If you want to know, the repayment will be made in 32 instalments because it's a big amount and you don't expect somebody to cough out that amount of money at a go, as far as the states and federal governments are concerned.”
He said the issue had been resolved 10 days after the previous FAAC meeting.
“Also, we had an agreement that whenever NNPC had enough money, they can actually fast-track, rather than pay one instalment - they lump two or three instalments,” he said.
The NNPC had claimed it used the money for petroleum subsidy and at a time insisted that it was too insolvent to repay the debt unless FAAC reimbursed it about N1.156 trillion it requested from the Federal Ministry of Finance.
But FAAC had also said after one of its monthly meetings that: “If the NNPC has a problem with the Federal Government, they should sort themselves out. Our position is that we are no longer going to listen to any stories; they should present to us the schedule of that payment that belongs to the state and the Federal Government while they sort themselves out with the Federal Government.”
Meanwhile, the total revenue amounting to N607.02 billion was Tuesday shared among the three tiers of government for August.
The minister said there was no need to augment the revenue this time around because it had enough money to meet the budgeted figures, having earmarked N615.757 billion for the month.
He said the total statutory income for the period stood at N552.296 billion, while revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT) contributed N54.727 billion to the entire generation.