By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
Akwa Ibom State government has further clarified the 70 per cent reduction of the March 2021 revenue allocation to the State from the Federal Account caused by a Force Majeure declared by ExxonMobil on Qua Iboe Terminal, QIT, Ibeno, in December 2020.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Ini Ememobong apparently in a statement yesterday in Uyo, said the more clarification on the issue became important because of the controversy it has attracted from critics of the state government.
His words, “The conversations about the force majeure declared by ExxonMobil have assumed a loud dimension demanding an official response from the State Government, so as to avail the citizenry the opportunity to sieve lies and falsehood from the reality which stares all of us in the face.
“The truth as admitted by ExxonMobil is that in December 2020, they declared a force majeure due to a fire incident on one of their platforms.
” It is common knowledge that our country depends almost solely on crude oil and any slight disruption in production will consequentially affect the country’s earnings, which will, in turn, reduce the volume of revenue available in the distributable pool, from where states draw their statutory allocation from.
“The processes of production declaration through to financial remittance to the federation account and subsequent allocation takes an unabridged period of 90 days, which clearly explains why a force majeure declared in December 2020 can reflect and become an issue in March 2021.
“The implication of this reduction in revenue obviously indicates that an economic challenge is en route, but there is certainly nothing to worry about. We have as a state been through an economic doom before in 2016, but divine Providence, through our Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, helped the state to weather the storm and we made it through”
The Commissioner stressed that despite the impending challenge, the factors that worked for the state in the past have not changed and urged the Akwa Ibom people to continue to offer their support to the government in varied ways, trusting that God would remain the present refuge and future hope of the state.
It could be recalled that Commissioner for Finance, Mr Linus Nkan had last week disclosed to newsmen in a statement in Uyo, that the unexpected decrease in the state’s revenue would affect activities of government including the State’s ability to meet its monthly obligations to public servants, pensioners and contractors if the reduction continued.
However, Nkan’s statement attracted controversy from critics of state government, particularly the All Progressives Congress, APC, which in a statement made available to newsmen last weekend through its publicity secretary, Nkereuwem Enyongekere described the development as another governor Udom Emmanuel’s excuse for poor performance in office.
The statement entitled read in part, “We in APC had thought that by now our governor had run out of excuses for his mediocre performance in office. He has practically blamed everybody except himself, and everything under the sun for his failures in governance.
“And just this week, his Commissioner for Finance, Mr Linus Nkan, created a furore when he said that the fire incident which occurred last December on the ExxonMobil platform at QIT, Ibeno, will lead to government’s inability to pay workers’ salaries and benefits from next month.
” It is just as well that the oil giant had come out to promptly deny such insinuation and state categorically that the force majeure it declared soon after the accident was lifted a month after, and that its normal remittances into the treasury have continued unabated”