Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The balance in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) has shrunk from $ 2.319 billion in November 2018 to $631 million as at Thursday, December 19, 2018.
This indicates that the special account recorded a deficit or withdrawals totaling $ 1.68 billion between last month’s Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting, which held in Kaduna and the last one in Abuja Thursday.
The November FAAC meeting was held in Kaduna at the 2018 Conference of the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) where the three tiers of government shared N788.139 billion for the month of October.
Explaining the deficit recorded in the ECA, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, who briefed journalists at the end of the FAAC meeting, said withdrawals were made by the federal government from the Account to settle the last tranche of the Paris Club refunds.
Isa-Dutse said, “The balance in the ECA is $631m. The final payment for Paris club refund to states was made and the figure was deducted and that’s what accounted for the difference.”
Reminded that it was illegal for deductions to be made for such purpose, he responded: “A decision was taken to make this refund and part of that decision is that the refund should be funded from the ECA,” adding that the Federal Executive Council and President Muhammadu Buhari approved the withdrawals.
Prodded by journalists to provide more insight more on the withdrawals,the Accountant General of Federation ( AGF) Mr. Idris Ahmed reinforced the position Isa-Dutse’s position, retorting: “Go and ask the National Assembly whether we got approval.”
ECA is a special account created to warehouse revenue above the budgeted oil benchmark.