By Ugonnabo Ngwu
The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, meeting on Tuesday ended in deadlock in Abuja due to discrepancies of about N37.76 billion in revenue presented by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The monthly meeting is convened for commissioners of finance of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory to consider and approve statutory allocation to the three tiers of government, this time for February.
But the committee said it could not approve the allocations to the three tiers of government, describing the discrepancies in revenue figures presented by the NNPC as a bad omen to workers who may have to go without salaries for the month.
Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, told journalists that the meeting was inconclusive because of irregularities in figures presented by the NNPC.
He said, “Obviously, you are all aware that anything that has to do with federation revenue is statutory and, therefore, constitutional and we must always verify our figures to the last kobo.
“Failing to do so will amount to committing illegality and unconstitutionality. It is on this note that we observe some issues in the figures given by one of the major revenue generating agencies namely the NNPC.
“The committee is of the opinion that until and unless these figures are reconciled, corrected, verified and factual; we cannot distribute the revenue as the case is.
“Let me again be quick to inform Nigerians that we are sensitive with the issue and to the fact that state governments may find it difficult without this money.”
Also speaking, Chairman of the forum of FAAC commissioners, Mahmoud Yunusa said the states rejected the amount presented by the NNPC because it was far lower than what was projected for the month.
He argued that if the NNPC could not surpass what they presented in February, then they should not present anything less than what they presented the previous months.
“We started this meeting last week and NNPC did not submit their figures until yesterday (Monday), which we were not able to review until this morning.
“This morning when we were reviewing the figures as presented by the NNPC, it came as a great surprise to see that the amount was less than N100 billion.
“So we (states) decided that we will not collect the amount presented,
“We are contesting the figures because pipeline vandalism has reduced, while crude oil prices have continued to go up.
“On this note, we are wondering why the nation cannot raise enough money through that sector to share to states so that everyone can pay workers, contractors and so on.
“We are well aware that this development may affect the payment of salaries in states, but we cannot hurriedly accept this money and then later cry foul play.
“So, we should all be patient. But we hope that with this latest development, NNPC will do the needful as soon as possible,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has assured that she will be meeting with the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, over discrepancies in payment into the Federation Account.
Adeosun, who is also the Chairman of FAAC, said she called for an emergency meeting next week with the NNPC boss, and other key management staff over revenue payment into the Federation Account.
The minister, in a statement made available to newsmen by her senior adviser on media and publicity, Mr Oluyinka Akintunde, assured Nigerians that the FAAC meeting would continue on Wednesday at 9am.
She said that the Accountant General of the Federation, Commissioners of Finance and Accountant-Generals of the 36 States would also be present at the meeting.
Similarly, she said that other representatives of the NNPC, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria Customs Service, Department of Petroleum Resources would also be at the meeting.