By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief & Henry Umoru
ABUJA—Fresh trouble is brewing between governors of the 36 states and the Federal Government over heavy deductions from the Federation Account in the name of fuel subsidy.
A hefty N304 billion was deducted from federally collected revenue between January and February this year, instead of a budgeted N148 billion for the two months, representing N74 billion monthly.
It was learnt, yesterday, that the governors will formerly protest to President Goodluck Jonathan after its next Governors’ Forum Meeting in Abuja, as competent sources at the secretariat disclosed that the matter will be discussed after which a strong delegation of the forum will be mandated to meet the president.
Vanguard gathered that the huge deductions from the federation account has become a great concern to the governors as they watch their income from the centre continually dwindling.
Secretariat sources said the governors acknowledge the few challenges of the federal government following the strike embarked on by the organized labour against the policy of government on the then new fuel pump price which later led to the present price of the product.
The issue of arbitrary deductions from the Federation Account, especially from oil revenue has continued to generate tension between the first two tiers of government.
On several occasion in the past few months, state commissioners of finance, acting on directives from their governors had to reject distributable funds as declared by the Federal Ministry of Finance, until more money was added.
As learnt, the fiinance commissioners have officially sent a memo to the governors on the need to be firm against the unilateral deductions by the federal government from what should be a common fund for the three tiers of government, as well as, other statutory bodies such as the National Assembly, the Judiciary, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, that receive fund based on statutory transfers.
Sources said a stand should have been taken on the matter by the governors at their last meeting in Abuja, last week, but for the National Economic Council meeting which didn’t allow them adequate time to exhaustively discuss it.