• N647.390 billed for distribution
•Adeosun reconvenes FAAC meeting today, calls for emergency meeting with NNPC GMD
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting where repre ssentatives of the three tiers of government gathered to distribute accruals from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) for the month of February yesterday ended in a stalemate as members of the committee rejected the revenue figure remitted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
At the heart of the matter was that although the technical session of committee had sat for about a week, the NNPC only remitted its revenue figures for the month of February on Monday.
This put the committee under pressure as it was left with no time to reconcile the figures before plenary yesterday, and actual distribution.
The figure remitted by the NNPC was considered low by most committee members vis-à-vis what was generated by the corporation.
Commissioners for Finance from various states at a point walked out of the plenary for consultation.
Some of them were heard calling their various state governors to brief them on the development.
Shortly after they went back for plenary, the meeting was declared inconclusive.
However, THISDAY obtained a summary of the Federation Account Revenue in accordance with the existing laws/statues and relevant revenue allocation formulae for the month of February, 2018 billed for distribution before the stalemate.
The total revenue available for distribution to the three tiers of government for the current month is N647.390 billion.
This contrasts with the
N635.554 billion shared by the various tiers of government for the month of January.
Gross statutory revenue of N557.943 billion received for the month was higher than the N538.908 billion received in the previous month by N19.035 billion.
An increase in crude oil export by 2.8 million barrels was recorded just as there was an increase in average crude oil price from $57.71 to $63.08 per barrel.
This culminated in an increased revenue from export sales for the federation by $194.39 million.
However, production still suffered shut-ins and shut-downs at various terminals for repairs and maintenance.
There was a significant increase in Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) but oil royalty, import duty, companies income tax (CIT) and value added tax (VAT) dropped considerably.
The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Alhaji Ahmed Idris, who briefed journalists at the headquarters of the Ministry of Finance in Abuja, said the meeting became inconclusive because of issues around reconciliation, adding that the committee resolved that revenue distribution should be on hold until satisfactory distribution is concluded.
Idris stated that FAAC was sensitive to the fact that workers needed to be paid as Easter festivities are around the corner, but also mindful of the provisions of the nation’s constitution.
He said: “We have just retired out of the FAAC held today for the month of March in which we considered the revenue figures for distribution for the previous month of February.
‘The meeting was inconclusive because of some issues around reconciliation on the table. Obviously, you are aware that everything that has to do with the federation revenue is constitutional and therefore, we must verify our figures to the last kobo, failing which we will be committing illegality, unconstitutionality.
“It is on that note that we observed some issues by one of the major revenue generating agencies, the NNPC and the meeting was of the opinion that until and unless these figures are reconciled, corrected, verified and they are factual, we cannot distribute the revenue as we should.
“We are sensitive to the issue, to the fact that we are approaching festivity. The said document as presented by the Minister of Finance are sensitive issues but we have to follow the constitution and laws in the distribution of the revenue.
“It is on this note I want to inform you that this meeting has not been concluded and we will look at the revenue figure as submitted by NNPC and reconcile such figures, and immediately upon concluding that meeting and address the matter and share the revenue.
“We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this might cause. We have to explain this to Nigerians, bearing in mind that civil servants, worker at states and local governments deserve to have their salaries and all other commitments from government,” he said.
Fielding questions from journalists, Idris said he was certain the amount to be distributed for February would be higher than that of March.
“Certainly, we believe that whatever will be distributed this month (February) will be higher than the previous month.
“I am confident and convinced about that. it is not about the quantum to be distributed, it is about reconciliation,” he said.
The various tiers of government
shared N635.554 billion for January.
Asked when workers are going to be paid in view of the stalemate, Idris said: “As soon as possible. As we leave here, we are going to embark on the exercise because we feel time is of essence and we must meet our responsibilities to the Nigerian workers.”
Prodded on why the reconciliation could not be concluded in one week, Idris stated: “In finance and accounting, figures will not always tally as presented, and once figures do not tally; there must be a way to agree. So, unless we get to the bottom of it; get some clarity and have some level of certainty, we cannot move forward.”
Also, the Chairman, Forum of Finance Commissioners in Nigeria, Mr. Mahmoud Yunusa, said the states were not comfortable with the figures from NNPC.
“The AGF has thrown a light on what is happening. We are not comfortable with figures that we got from NNPC. We believe that the figures are supposed to be much more than what was remitted to the federation account for distribution.
“However, these are figures and in reconciling figures, you have to give five per cent room for errors, whether it I right or wrong. But what we have from NNPC this is beyond that proportion.
“We are stepping down this meeting for us to meet with the NNPC to ensure that what is due to the federation account gets to the federation account. That is our focus for now. This reconciliation will take minimal time as soon as possible.
“If you look at the total collection of NNPC, in terms of the quantum of sales is very high but what is being remitted is very very negligible to us as commissioners. That is our position,” Yunusa said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has reconvened the meeting of the committee for today (Wednesday) at 9a.m.
According to a statement by her media aide, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, the meeting, which would hold at the Auditorium of the Federal Ministry of Finance, would have in attendance the AGF, Idris; Commissioners of Finance and Accountant-Generals of the 36 states and representatives of the NNPC, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs Service, Department of Petroleum Resources, among others.
“The minister has also called for an emergency meeting next week with the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, and key management over revenue payment into the Federation Account.
“It will be recalled that the FAAC meeting was inconclusive on Tuesday, necessitating the intervention of the minister,” the statement concluded.