By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, agreed to meet officials of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, over failure of the corporation to make accurate remittances to the Federal Allocation Account Committee, FAAC, in the month of June.
Recall that the last FAAC meeting in Abuja was deadlocked as governors rejected what the NNPC presented before them and that was the third time FAAC meeting was ending without resolution since January 2018.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this after a meeting with Governors Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa State and Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State and Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Adeosun had last week stated that if the issues that led to the deadlock of the meeting were not resolved, salaries might be affected in the states.
The committee members of FAAC had expressed reservations with some of the costs presented by NNPC, saying there could not be justified, hence the decision not to approve the accounts.
The President is expected to meet the officials of the apex oil body alongside the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, at an undisclosed date.
At the meeting in Aso Rock, yesterday, it was resolved that given the importance of the issue at stake, the President and the minister would meet the officials of the NNPC, with a view to getting to the root of the matter and also finding a lasting solution to the debacle.
Answering questions from journalists after the meeting, Yari said although his visit to the State House along with his colleagues was meant to be private, it eventually turned out to be official, in view of the persistent debacle over fund remittance between NNPC and FAAC.
He said: “Initially, it was supposed to be a private visit but it has turned out to be an official visit because you know we were supposed to hold the federal allocation committee meeting since last week, which was deadlocked.
‘’So, the Chief of Staff decided to invite the minister so that we can discuss further and see how best we are going to deal with the matter.
“There is headway because Mr. President and the Minister of Finance will meet with the NNPC officials so that we can resolve the problem with the Federal Allocation Accounts Committee, FAAC.”
“Well, as you know last FAAC meeting ended in deadlock and since then, we have been having series of engagements among ourselves governors, commissioners and, of course, various stakeholders.
“Today’s meeting was for me to brief the governors and the chief of staff and by extension, Mr. President, on the progress we have made so far on our position. Mr. President has promised to take the next step and to that extent, we are very satisfied.”
Also speaking, Adeosun said she was in the State House to brief both the governors and the President on update on the matter, affirming that the President had promised to intervene in the matter.
She said: “Well, as you know, the last FAAC meeting ended in deadlock and since then, we have been having a series of engagements between ourselves, the governors, the commissioners and of course, various stakeholders.
“Today’s meeting was for me to brief the governors and the chief of staff and by extension, Mr. President on the progress we have made so far on our position. Mr. President has promised to take the next step and to that extent we are very satisfied.”
On why there was yet a remittance problem when NNPC was also part and parcel of the treasury single account (TSA), the minister said all revenue generating agencies make returns to FAAC adding that the issue under contention was not about gross revenues of the corporation but about deductions it made.
She added that since the last FAAC meeting ended in deadlock, several meetings had been held by the committee with governors, commissioners of finance and other relevant stakeholders.
She said: “Every agency of government is in the TSA. You know FAAC is unique. FAAC is a meeting where all the revenue generating agencies make returns on net of their expenses. It is in the area where we have disputes – the dispute is not on the gross revenue but what has been deducted from that gross revenue gives us the net which is being brought into the FAAC.
“But I think this is a healthy process. We must be satisfied with figures before we sign off on them. We must, as stakeholders, make sure all our agencies are aligned with all the programmes of government in terms of getting this economy really moving. We are still very much dependent on oil, on NNPC for our revenue.
“So, we do need to have sometimes some of this. I see them more as reconciliations than standoffs. I’m very sure we will have the FAAC (meeting) in the next day or so.”