By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJAâ€” In the wake of a planned probe of the sharing of the Federation Account by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, the Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola, has stated that the Federal Government remains resolute in its commitment towards a transparent and accountable Federation Account.
Babalola, who stated this while responding to enquiries by newsmen, assured that the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, would continue to adhere strictly to the enabling Act, which mandated the Committee to share allocations from the Federation Account to the three tiers of government in line with the extant laws of revenue allocation.
The Federation Account is made up of all federally collected revenues, including receipts from oil and gas sales locally and internationally, royalties and Value Added Tax, among others.
The revenues from the Federation Account are distributed monthly among the three tiers of government by the Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, chaired by Babalola.
The Chairman of the Board of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Prof. Assisi Asobie, has disclosed plans by the agency to begin the comprehensive audit of the Federation Account, with regards to the management of such funds and the impact on the lives of Nigerians.
According to Asobie, between 1999 and 2005, more than N15.9 trillion was shared among the three tiers of government.
Out of this, he said, the Federal Government was allocated N5.138 trillion (32.5 percent), while the states and local governments got N10.671 trillion (67.5 percent). He noted that despite the excess wealth generated from the abundant mineral resources in the country, many Nigerians still wallow in abject poverty.
The audit, he stated, would aim to uncover â€œhow much money that goes into the Federation Account; we would like to know how monies from this account which are allocated through the states and local governments donâ€™t reach the communities that need them most.â€
According to Babalola, â€œwithout being immodest, let me state that we have conducted the business of FAAC in a more pragmatic manner than what it used to be in previous years. We have ensured strict adherence to the enabling Act by maintaining openness and fairness in the distraction of the revenue from the Federation Account.”