36 Finance Commissioners protest allocation; Adeosun summons FAAC meeting for Wednesday

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Minister for Finance, Mrs. Nike Adeosun flanked by the FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Bello and the MInister of State Foreign Affairs, Hajia Khadijat Abba Ibrahim singing the national anthem at the Federal Executive Council Meeting at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida 21/03/2018

…Calls Emergency Meeting with NNPC GMD over payment into Federation Account

The Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has reconvened the meeting of the Committee for Wednesday, 28th March, 2018 after vehement protests on Tuesday by States’ Commissioners of Finance over questionable remittances by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The meeting, which will hold at the Auditorium of the Federal Ministry of Finance, will have in attendance the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris; Commissioners of Finance and Accountant-Generals of the 36 States and representatives of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Department of Petroleum Resources, among others.

The Minister has also called for an emergency meeting next week with the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru, and key management over revenue payment into the Federation Account.

It will be recalled that the FAAC meeting was inconclusive on Tuesday, necessitating the intervention of the Honourable Minister.

The meeting is coming amid indications that the forthcoming Easter celebration by federal and state civil servants may be bleak over likely inability to pay the wages of workers.

A civil rights organisation, Coalition for Probity and Integrity in Civil Service (CPICS), revealed that the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), had failed to conclude its meetings twice in the last one week because of a major disagreement between the NNPC and the 36 State Commissioners of Finance.

The coalition said the 36 State Commissioners of Finance walked out of FAAC meeting on Monday “because of NNPC’s dubious disclosure and fraudulent posture over the subsidy payment.”

Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, the Executive Director of CPICS, Dr. Suleiman Abubakar, said with this development, civil servants might not receive their salaries for the month of March before the Easter holiday which commences on Friday.

He said that while the All Progressives Congress (APC) Government of President Muhammadu Buhari had been deceiving Nigerians that the price of oil had declined, investigations by COICS, have proved the contrary.

To him, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Alhaji Maikanti Baru; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Presidency have been less than forthcoming to Nigerians.

He said, “Kachikwu and Baru admitted that the cost differential of N26 per litre is being paid by government as subsidy without stating who authorised the payment. You will recall that subsidy is being paid without appropriation by the National Assembly for which the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) instituted a probe

“The investigative hearing held on January 4 and even then the chairman of the committee, Senator Kabiru Marafa, curiously removed probe of the alleged subsidy payment from the agenda. After going through the report on the hearing, as submitted by the Marafa-led committee, the Senators discovered that the report was silent on the alleged illegal subsidy payment.

“As we speak, the FAAC meeting experienced another stalemate because the State Commissioners of Finance rejected and walked out of the meeting arising from discrepancies in the sharing of federally collected revenue among the three tiers of government occasioned by NNPC’s dubious disclosure and fraudulent posture over the subsidy payment.”

According to him, this would be the second time in five months that the NNPC had failed to make its return into the federation account.

He said, “The FAAC meeting was postponed last week because the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was yet to remit the revenue for the month into the federation account.

“The rescheduled meeting for Monday did not hold because the 36 Commissioners of Finance were not happy with the dubious disclosures from NNPC over subsidy payment that they walked out of the FAAC meeting. There was no possibility of another meeting taking place before the end of this week.

“Apart from Lagos State, there is hardly any other state in Nigeria that can survive even for one month without the federal allocation. The FAAC meeting for March did not hold because NNPC is yet to remit the revenue accruing to the federal, states and local governments into the federation account.

“The members of FAAC were in Abuja last week for the meeting but were informed that it had been postponed because there was no money to share. The implication is that virtually all the states will be unable to pay workers salary for this month till after the Easter holiday.

“In 2017, the delay by the NNPC to make its monthly remittance to the federal coffers resulted in workers in some states receiving their November salary about a week to Christmas.”

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