WARRIâ€”OIL communities in Delta State have asked the state government to release, without delay, an outstanding N43 billion supposedly owed Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) to enable the commission pay its contractors.
The communities, in a communiquÃ© signed by Timinimi Andy (Ijaw), Chief Alphonsus Odili (Ndokwa), Chief Mike O. Ofere (Isoko), Olorogun Johnson E Y Duku, (Urhobo), Fidelis E Orugboh (Itsekiri) and the ex-National Secretary, Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities (TROMPCON), Prince Maikpobi Okareme, said the money at stake had been due to DESOPADEC since November 2009.
Vanguard reliably learnt that the oil communities were likely to storm Asaba todayÂ to seek audience with the Acting Governor, Prof Amos Utuama, and Delta State House of Assembly regardingÂ the disbursement of the money.
They noted that â€œalthough N30 billion was approved in 2007 Appropriation Act for DESOPADEC, out of the N60 billion derivation fund received by Delta State, only N15 billion was released.â€
â€œWe commend the government for this amount since it represents six months allocation.Â In 2008, DESOPADEC was expected to receive N40.5 billion but only N33 billion was disbursed out of N81 billion oil money sent from Abuja to Asaba.
â€œThe funding gap in 2009 widened when only N30 billion was approved by the state government, with less than half released out of N100 billion derivation funds.
â€œFor the current year, Delta State is expected to receive N106 billion, yet the House of Assembly is about to pass the 2010 Appropriation bill with a provision of the fixed N30 billion figure carried from 2007, even when the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has adjusted Delta State index upwards from 13.88 per cent to 24.4 per cent, with effect from March 2009, an increase of 76 per cent.â€
The communities, therefore, urged Delta State House of Assembly to appropriate N53 billion, being 50 per cent of the N106 billion derivation funds for 2010, adding that â€œsince payment was unnecessary delayed, some for upward of two years, DESOPADEC should offset the interest charged to contractors by the banksâ€.
They said Vice President Goodluck Jonathan should be empowered to receive the revised Revenue Allocation bill from the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission for onward transmission to the National Assembly, since the bill made provision for the entire derivation money not to form part of the consolidated funds of the states.
The communities also called on Niger Delta governors to support the Presidencyâ€™s stand for the 10 percent equity to be managed exclusively by host communities without political interference.