By Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY—THE Edo State government, yesterday, reacted to the controversy trailing the alleged release of trillions of naira out of the arrears owing the state from the country’s 13 percent derivation formula, saying it has only received N2.1 billion out of the N28billion due to the state.
Addressing newsmen in Benin City, state Commissioner for Finance, Joseph Eboigbe flanked by his Communication and Orientation counterpart, Chris Neikhare and the Special Adviser on Media Projects to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Crusoe Osagie, said there was a repayment plan of the arrears to be paid in five years of four quarters in a year.
He said: “It was the Commissioners of Finance in Nigeria under the aegis of FAAC, especially those from the oil producing states that spotted the fact that there was an anomaly in respect of the Federal Government spending money from crude oil and gas sales and not taking out derivation. So, the work was done and a total of about N1trillion was established as due to the oil producing states, it went through the whole process and the FEC approved it and a methodology for repayment as approved by RMFAC and they now agreed on what would be due to each state.
“Edo State’s share of that figure was N28billion. What was also approved was the way and manner this money would get to the states. The net amount that will come to each state over five years; each year, you will have quarterly remittance which means four releases each year over five years.
“By the time they started the releases in October, Edo State got N700million per quarter, and this is verifiable in our bank account. What we have got is three quarterly releases so far, that is what has come into the state coffers and it is verifiable, it is in the bank, Office of the Accountant General has the records. So, our share was N28billion net, it is to be distributed in five years and that will be 20 quarterly distributions three has come so far.”
On what specific projects the state has put the money to, Nehikare said the income has been part of the resources expenditure of the state, adding “Edo State has received N2.1 billion and you will agree with me that we have people who have religiously used these resources. We are not a rich state but we are rich in human capital development, we are rich in people who are able to manage our resources in such a way that we are able to get the major benefits.”