The Federal Government, state and local governments in Nigeria are reported to have shared $1billion from the $4billion Excess Crude Account (ECA) in December 2010. An emergency meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) (which some newspapers claim was "shrouded in secrecy"), attended by the commissioners of finance and their accountants-general in the 36 states, was reportedly held on December 31, 2010.
The allocation was disbursed in US dollars and the Federal Government received $458.31million, the states received $232 million, and the local governments received $179 million. The oil-producing states also shared a balance of $130 million based on derivation - Bayelsa State received $47.1m, Akwa Ibom, $43.6m; Rivers, $40.6m; and Delta, $33.0m.
Kano, Lagos and Kaduna had the highest allocation for non-oil producing states:Kano state received $20m, Lagos state received $15m and Kaduna state received $15m.
The meeting is said to have been held only two weeks after the December allocation of over N500bn was shared and just two weeks before the next FAAC meeting in January 2011 where another monthly disbursement should occur. Reports say that that the state governors pressured the presidency for the funds to be released so they can â€śaddress the huge infrastructure deficitâ€ť in their states.
In 2008, President Yarâ€™Adua had ordered that dollar allocations from the Federation Account to all tiers of government be stopped due to the legal and constitutional implications of releasing dollars when the legal tender in Nigeria is Naira.
The Minister of State for Finance and chairman of the FAAC, Hajiya Yabawa Wabi, said "We are here because we got an approval to share $1 billion from the ECA to the three tiers of government and this we are doing because the ECA is a financing item in the 2010 budget of both the federal and state governments.
â€śThe budget year has been extended to March 2011 by the National Assembly and that is why we need to share this amount to form part of the 2010 budget,â€ť
"Since only the capital budget was extended to March, the money will only be meant for capital projects. The money was approved by the president. No other money was shared apart from this and the money has already been cash-backed.
â€śIn this regard, while the Federal Government had $458.31 million, states will share $232 million, local government areas will share $179 million and the derivation states will share $130 million.â€ť
Alhaji Rebo Usman, the chairman of commissionersâ€™ forum, also said â€śwe have to meet because there is no way we could share money without a meeting of FAAC members. That is why we had to hold this emergency meeting to take care of that decision that was taken by the National Economic Council.
â€śThis money is not an end-of-the-year bonus, it belongs to the three tiers of government and the ECA is like savings and the governors believed that there is the need to fund some ongoing projects that are taken place, both at the federal and state level.
â€śSo it is normal that the money was taken at this time of the year to fund some of our operations.â€śThe ECA is an account that belongs to the three tiers of government and anytime we are in need, we have a right to use it to fund projects.â€ť
The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties released a statement condemning â€śthe squandering of the Excess Crude Accountâ€ť and reducing it from over $20bn on June 1, 2007 to less than $3bn at the end of 2010 saying, â€śHow can President Goodluck Jonathan account for the hurried sharing of $1bn to the three tiers of government on December 31, 2010? Of what urgent purpose was the $1bn meant for? Is it for politicking?
Is it New Year bonus? Why was this meeting on the eve of the New Year of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, convened secretly as an emergency meeting?â€ť
"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."
Omotayo, J. A. Lagos, NIGERIA January 04, 2011
Emergency sharing of $1bn on Dec 31, 2010 the eve of new year, just two weeks after December 2010 monthly allocation meeting and two weeks before January 2011 monthly allocation meeting can only be expressed as a "corrupt practice". Releasing figures allocated alone is not a sufficient ground for transparency. A process that is shrouded in secrecy and ill timed cannot be accepted as being transparent. Mba o! This allocation process reflects the reality of the government's "zero tolerance to corruption". But some of us are not deceived. We are watching. God bless Nigeria.
"Coming In From The Cold" In California, USA January 03, 2011
Which kind country be dis? This is daylight robbery and thievery. Do these people care about the unemployed, the hungry, and the old people at all? This is money that should or could be spent for social welfare programs to help the downtrodden and underprivileged.
What about infrastructures, creating jobs, repairing roads, improving electricity, building hospitals, providing potable water, etc. Na wetin concern agbero for overload. No, mba, oti o, uh-uh. Yeye people no dey fit think right.
Nigeria is going nowhere. This country will be destroyed one way or another, better sooner than later. These unprogressive ways cannot be sustained for too long. The blackman is hopeless.
To me, it seems we don't care about improving ourselves. Somebody else has to do it for us. We have left all ideas about progress and advancement to white people. Let them spearhead it and do it; they are the smart ones.
Even to try and eradicate malaria which is a very serious disease afflicting us, has been left to the white man, who is not afflicted, to take care of. Money that could be directed to research is either stolen, shared, or plundered.
Which kind person we be. I don tire o jare.
I am beginning to think we cannot govern ourselves successfully and productively. I think we should contract out our governance to any group of people who will be paid to lead and govern us for 10 to 20 years at a time.
It's time for "Governance For Hire." Na wetin remain now; I don taya o.