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FAAC: Finance Minister confirms Daily Times story

…Says workers will get salary before Easter
…Presides over FAAC meeting as FG, states, LGAs share N647.39bn
…3 tiers of Govt receive N11.836bn payments higher than previous month
An intensive meeting between state governors and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has averted Federation Allocation Account Committee (FAAC) impasse which was induced by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) alleged under-remitting of Federation fund accrued to it from crude oil sales.

The Finance Minister also directed that all accounts of the three tiers of government must be credited their allocations on Wednesday to enable them pay their workers ahead of the Easter celebration.

With the truce brokered by Minister of Finance, the governors gave directive to their respective states’ Finance commissioners to accept FAAC revenue sum of N647.390 billion for the month of February, with commitment to engage authority at NNPC on reconciliation.

This urgent move by the Minister of Finance has confirmed The Daily Times story on Wednesday that “unless something urgent is done to resolve the inconclusive FAAC meeting, most civil servants in the country may have to spend the Easter celebration without salaries as the Committee failed to disburse funds to the three tiers of government over disagreement on the amount to be distributed.”

Accordingly, The Daily Times also exclusively reported on Wednesday that N647.390billion would be shared amongst the three tiers of government when the deadlock is resolved.

The FAAC meeting, meant for the distribution of revenue to the three tiers of government, was on Tuesday stalemated as the NNPC reportedly under-remitted oil revenue accrued to the Federation as at March 27, 2018.

The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, had said on Tuesday that the FAAC could not disburse the allocation for February because the NNPC had failed to remit its full statutory revenue generated for the month to the Federation Account, insisting that until the NNPC remits the revenue, the FAAC could not hold.

But in a swift action to save the situation, Chairman of FAAC and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun while briefing the media on Wednesday on the outcome of reconvened FAAC meeting after Tuesday’s stalemate, said she personally engaged states’ governors in meeting previous night (Tuesday) to find a way around the stalemate.

Adeosun said: “The figure for this month is higher than last month. There are issues that we would take up with the NNPC but those issues notwithstanding, we should go ahead and conclude the meeting .We would sit down with the GMD of NNPC or his representatives, we would hopefully sit down within next 48 hours to thrash out subsisting issues”.

The Minister explained that notwithstanding issues surrounding the account, the welfare of staff is paramount, more so with Easter few days away.

The Minister said: “The NNPC is a major chain of our revenue and by that fact, there would be from time to time issues. We are going to sit with NNPC. Accounting is a process, there has to be dialogue.

Some of the issues that were raised have actually been cleared but of course, there are new issues that arise. I think that is part reconciliation, accountability and transparency.

We did that overnight, speaking to the governors and we took a decision to go ahead and still of the view that there are issues and I’m sure within the next 48 hours, I would meet with NNPC GMD or his representatives.

“I think this is a healthy process. Questions must be asked, that is what accountability is all about. We would get to the bottom of the issue so that we can move forward. I think it’s a healthy development. I’m confident we would resolve all the outstanding issues”.

In his response, Adamawa State Commissioner for Finance and Chairman of Commissioners for Finance Forum, Mahmoud Sale Yunusa, said that the NNPC deliberately sidelined other stakeholders in a business that belongs to all.

He said, “We have agreed last night to hold the meeting as it were; move on to our respective states and pay the salary so that everybody will celebrate the Easter. Be that as it may, the account as submitted by NNPC is still not acceptable to us.

We will sit down with the NNPC to ensure all the grey areas are trashed out. What we expected from the NNPC is less than what was submitted.

We, the commissioners of states, are not happy the way NNPC is running this business. We are major shareholders in this business but yet we are not happy with the way NNPC is handling it.

“We won’t take this anymore. NNPC will have to sit up and do its job. We are not taking this anymore. We would not come here, spend days without holding the meeting. So in the spirit of Easter, we would take this account, go home with it; pay salary and come back to meet NNPC to pay us our balance. We have to find out wherever the error is”.

Meanwhile, the three tiers of government comprising the Federal Government, states and Local government councils shared for February, a total revenue of N647.390 billion. The sum approved by FAAC included Value Added Tax (VAT). The February Allocation was higher compared to previous amount of N635.554 billion.

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.

The money was the revenue collection for the month of February 2018 which was approved at the FAAC meeting on Wednesday.

The FAAC meeting, which was presided over by the 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 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.

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.

Giving further breakdown of the revenue distribution, Finance Minister said 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 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.

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