Workers get caught up, as FAAC shares N647 billion

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After much hullabaloo, the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has temporarily resolved to share the available N647.39 billion, thereby applying the brakes to a crisis that would have made it impossible for many federal and state governments’ workers to have anything for the Easter festivities.

The amount to be shared is higher than what was shared last month, though state’s Commissioners of Finance are compaining of shortfalls from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The N647.39 billion distributed to the three tiers of government is N11.836 billion higher than the N635.554 billion shared in the previous month.

As it is, there are fears that many state governments, notorious for shortchanging workers, will hide under the alleged shortfalls from the oil corporation, to deprive workers of the timely payment of their monthly wages. With just Wednesday and Thursday to conclude banking transactions, it will be a miracle for States without strong internally generated revenue base to meet up with workers and pensioners pay.

In a breakdown by Minister Adeosun, the Federal Government received N257.927 billion of the net statutory revenue as against the N249.366 billion received in the previous month, while the State and Local Governments’ share of the statutory revenue was N130.824 billion and N100.86 billion, respectively.

The States and Local Governments had last month got N126.482 billion and N97.512 billion, respectively.

The 13% derivation accounted for the balance of the statutory revenue of N57.356 billion.

The 36 States received Value Added Tax of N42.935 billion compared with N46.39 billion received in the previous month, while the Federal and Local Governments received VAT of N12.88 billion and N30.054 billion, respectively.

Both Federal and Local Governments had received N13.917 billion and N32.473 billion, respectively, from VAT in February 2018, she added.

 

The Federal Ministry of Finance appears optimistic that workers will be paid between  Wednesday and Thursday.

“Workers at the three tiers of Government are to receive their salaries for this month before the Easter break as the Federal, State and Local Governments shared the sum of N647.39 billion from the Federation Account,” a statement by Adeosun’s spokesman, Mr. Olyinka Akintunde, says.

It added: “The money was the revenue collection for the month of February 2018 which was approved at the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting on Wednesday.

“The FAAC meeting, which was presided over by the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, was attended by a representative of the Permanent Secretary and Director of Home Finance in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Olubunmi Siyanbola; Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris; Chairman of Finance Commissioners’ Forum and Adamawa State Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Mahmoud Yenusa; States’ Commissioners of Finance and Accountant-Generals, and representatives of revenue generating agencies.

“Adeosun, who spoke to journalists at the end of the Committee’s meeting, said the N647.39 billion distributed to the three tiers of government was N11.836 billion higher than the N635.554 billion shared in the previous month.

“Statutory revenue accounted for N557.943 billion of the total revenue distributed on Wednesday while Value Added Tax accounted for the balance of N89.447 billion.

“The total revenue distribution in the previous month was made up of statutory revenue of N538.908 billion and Value Added Tax of N96.646 billion.

“On the States’ dispute with the revenue paid by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation into the Federation Account, the Minister said the FAAC would reconcile the revenue figures with the top management of the Corporation led by the Group Managing Director, Mr. Maikanti Baru.

” “The NNPC is a major channel of our mineral revenue. Some issues have been raised by the States on the revenue paid into the Federation Account by NNPC.

” “These are being looked into and within the next 48 hours, we will be (at) a joint meeting with the NNPC Group Managing Director to address the concerns of the States. The reconciliation of the revenue figures is part of a healthy process to ensure transparency and accountability,” Adeosun said.

“The Chairman of Finance Commissioners’ Forum, Mahmoud Yenusa, explained that the reconvening of the meeting had become necessary to enable States pay workers their salaries before the Easter break.

” “The account submitted by the NNPC is not acceptable to the States but we are willing to jointly reconcile the revenue figure with the leadership of NNPC.

“ “We agreed last night to reconvene the meeting for the benefits of Nigerian workers at all tiers of government, to enable them receive their salaries,” the Adamawa State Commissioner of Finance said.

“Meanwhile, the Accountant General of Federation on Wednesday signed the mandates for the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay the approved revenue allocation into the accounts of the Federal, State and Local Governments.

 

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

 

Adeosun 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.

Recall that the FAAC meeting was deadlocked on Tuesday, necessitating the intervention of the Honourable Minister.

The meeting came 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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