By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The Federal Government has resolved the controversy over the amount of revenue to be shared from the Federation Account this month.
A Presidential Committee headed by Bauchi State Governor, Isah Yuguda with his colleagues from Anambra, Gombe and Delta states, Mr. Peter Obi, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo and Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, respectively, as members told journalists in Abuja, yesterday that the disagreement which led to the cancellation of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, last week, have been resolved.
Gov Yuguda said: “The Minister of State (Finance), the AGF, the DG, Budget Office of the Federation, following our meeting in the minister’s office, this is a presidential committee which I am charging. I have three governors with me on the committee. The committee was set up after a slight disagreement between the state commissioners of finance and the Minister of State who chaired the FAAC.
“An agreement has been reached on the Federation Account to resolve all outstanding issues to do with the Federation Accounts.
“As part of this, a commitment to settle the arrears of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) payments has been agreed. This was the key development from a meeting of the Committee set up by Mr President to resolve this issue today.”
According to the Bauchi State Governor, the committee also resolved to tackle root causes of the revenue challenges facing the country including illegal bunkering and oil theft in a decisive and sustainable manner.
“The meeting which was held in a positive atmosphere reaffirmed the determination of the Federal Government and the Governors to continue working together for the common good of the country.
“To underscore the commitment reached at the meeting, it was also resolved that FAAC meeting will reconvene immediately”, he said. In his remarks, the Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yarima Ngama explained that the disagreement was due to the shortfall in oil revenue which made it difficult for expected distributable income to meet budgeted levels.
His words, “the main issue is that we have shortages in revenue so the amount that we have statutorily reduced for the three tiers of government including the federal government. There was a short fall so the timing of when to pay the shortfall is another thing whether we delay it or whether we pay immediately.
All issues are resolved, it means we have resolved to make the payment which includes the federal government, states and local governments”. The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, also said that the arrears which the Finance Commissioners insisted must be paid last wee would be cleared.
“What we are trying to say is that some arrears arising from when we were trying to put our accounts together we are now going to clear them that’s what we are saying. No debt no agreement to sign, it’s a federation account issue we are all in it together we have agreed now on what the arrears are and how much they are and we are going to clear them. That’s the good news that we have”.
Besides the two Finance Ministers, the meeting was attended by the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Jonah Otunla and the DG Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Bright Okogu.