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Commissioners reject FAAC report on allocation

Abuja— The Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting in Abuja on Friday ended with the commissioners rejecting the allocation report as presented by the Accountant General of the Federation.
The three tiers of government meet on a monthly basis to share revenue generated for the country’s development.
The meeting that lasted for more than three hours in the past ended in less that two hours.

Addressing newsmen, Mr Remi Babolola, the Minister of State for Finance, attributed the brief nature of the meeting to what he called “suspended deliberation on the consideration of the statutory allocation and arrears”.

“The rational is that the commissioner’s forum held a meeting last night and said that about N736 billion should be the differential between the actual receipt and what we distributed in the last three months and the budget estimate should be paid along this month’s statutory allocation as well as the augmentation this month.

“For us to take any money from the excess crude, we will need the approval of Mr President.
“There is no way at this point in time that we can actually take N700 billion from the Excess Crude Account without getting the approval of Mr President,” he said.

He said the amount in the excess crude account was 4.3 billion dollars.

According to him, there is need for all stakeholders to sit together and come out with facts to help the distribution of the allocation to the tiers of government.

“The bottom line is that the money that we are going to pay to the three federating unit on the monthly basis is half a trillion naira and what we are getting is lesser than that.

“The least that can happen is that on the monthly basis we need to augment with about N100 billion and we would have raided the entire excess crude account. That is a problem.

“ So we need to sit down with Mr President and all the other stakeholders to look at the assumption and estimate of the 2010 budget otherwise, if we pay this entire money now we may not actually have any money to pay in next one or two months,” he said.

He said that the minister of finance was expected to meet with the president to look at the Appropriation Act properly and see how the issues would be resolved.

“By next week we think they may resolve it then we will call the meeting back after the resolution,” he said.
Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) said the total revenue that was available in the federation account could not fund the amount that was approved in the 2010 budget by the National Assembly.

“There are other ways to fund the federation account. So we have to look for other sources and for us to access other sources we need approval of Mr President.

“That approval we have not obtained . Anytime we get that approval we will fund the federation account.
“While we are approving this we have also made analysis of the budget which we have submitted to Mr President for his consideration and for our team and the team of the National Assembly to sit together and look at the budget,” he said.

He said the money appropriated to be shared by the National Assembly was the highest since 1999.

“The amount that has been appropriated is the highest, N498 billion to share monthly. This is the highest that has been shared between 1999 till date,” he said.

The AGF added that for the month of April there was money to share, saying “for this month there is money to share but going forward we will find ways to ensure that there is money to share”.

However, Mr Rebo Usman, Chairman, Commissioners Forum, said the commissioner rejected the report based on the fact that it did not follow the 2010 appropriation.

“I think we have to get something right here, its wrong to say that the Federal Government has a stance there and one thing you need to understand clearly about what is happening today is that we have an Appropriation Act.

“The Appropriation Act is based on the bench mark of 67 dollars per barrel. From January to April, we have been sharing on the basis of 45 dollars per barrel standing on the 2009 budget because the budget has not been approved.

“So when the AGF came in with a statement for approval today we discovered that having signed the Appropriation Act by Mr President, it is expected to implement the budget from January,’ he said

According to him, areas that are left as a result of an act should now be smoothened up and the way it is smoothened up is by payment the balance.

He noted the commissioner’s demands that the money should be adequately computed and shown as supposed from January to April.

“It is not as if the FG is up to any game, we understand its difficulties. What we are saying is that the report should have shown states difference from January to March.

“If what you are supposed to have in March is N8 billion then they can say that what we have at hand now is N5 billion please take your N5 billion.

“When Mr President comes back we give you the balance of the N3 billion. That has not been done and that is why we are saying that we are not signing,” he said.


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