April 16, 2021

March FAAC draws more controversy as fresh facts emerge


•States rejected FG’s figures meant for FAAC
•Fin. Ministry withholds info on what transpired

By Emma Ujah, Abuja

Against the backdrop of controversy generated by Edo State governor, Godwin Obadeki’s claim that N60 billion was printed to augment the March 2021 Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, there are indications that there was a breakdown in negotiation between the federal government and states on the actual amount meant for sharing among the tiers of government.

A document seen by Vanguard at the Finance Ministry showed that following a huge shortfall in the expected amount to the credit of the distributable FAAC pool for March, the federal government had originally augmented the shortfall with N8.645 billion from the Equalization Fund and some amount from a Foreign Exchange Reserves account.

The document, which was meant to be a communiqué for the last FAAC meeting, indicated that the expected revenue shortfall was about N203 billion, indicating that the N8.6 billion augmentation was a far cry from what was needed.

Consequently, sources close to the FAAC executives disclosed to Vanguard that representatives of state governments, mainly Accounts-Generals and Commissioners for Finance, rejected the amount.

Also read: January 2021 Allocation: FCTA disburses N3.8bn to 6 Area Councils, others – Minister

The meeting, Vanguard further learned, at that stage, suffered a stalemate as the federal government officials insisted there was no more money to be added to what was on the table.

When the state governments’ officials insisted on more funds, it was learned that the federal government officials reminded them that several debts were owed by the states to the federal government.

The federal government officials then expressed the need to net out some of the debts to make room for the cash that the states could have received.

That position was also rejected by the state government representatives.

The FAAC source, however, could not confirm if the state governments had been credited with their allocations after the meeting and how much exactly was eventually distributed.

The document seen by Vanguard indicated that N439 billion was proposed by the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, Secretariat for distribution to the three tiers of government.

The breakdown showed that minerals accounted for N284.999 billion of that revenue; Non-Mineral, N154.101 billion; recovered Excess Bank Charges, N0.517 billion; while VAT accounted for N157 billion.

The Finance Ministry usually makes the communiqué public with details of the amount shared and the breakdown of allocations to the various governments, including the sources of the funds.

But the source told Vanguard that the ministry could no longer make such information available due to the controversy.

Vanguard News Nigeria