Only $7billion is left of the about $27billion the Yar’Adua administration met in the excess crude account in 2007, it emerged yesterday.
If the cash crashes further and revenue plummets, governance may run aground, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) chair Hamman Tukur has warned.
Tukur spoke when he received Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole in Abuja.
Besides, he lamented that revenue from crude oil sales is being directed to servicing joint venture cash calls, leaving the Federation Account with revenue from Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), and Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT).
Tukur said for many months, revenue from gas has not been accounted for.
He said states and local governments no longer showed interest in the management of the federation account.
According to Tukur, the Federal Ministry of Finance has resorted to the excess crude oil account denominated in naira to augment monthly allocations to all tiers of government because of the dwindling revenue.
The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), he said, has now become a rubber stamp as commissioners and accountant-generals from the states are merely handed documents showing how money has been shared only for them to sign.
On most occasions, the states’ delegates are told to endorse deliberations of the National Economic Council (NEC), "which is just an advisory body to the President", rather than for them as the body legally mandated to share the Federation Account among the beneficiaries to decide how the revenue is to be disbursed, he said.
Tukur urged Oshiomhole to prevail on governors to advice the Accountant-General of the Federation to release the N18 billion deducted from the councils’ account during the Obasanjo administration to fund hospitals. President Umaru Yar’Adua halted the programme on assuming office.
He said N18 billion had been deducted from the local governments’ fund, with only N6 billion paid to the contractor. Over 30 months after, the local governments are yet to be refunded the balance.
Tukur described as illegal the current revenue formula being used by FAAC, saying: "It is a memo issued by former Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, which is contrary to the dictates of the constitution."
On gas, Tukur said the revenue from the commodity no longer gets to the Federation Account, adding that recent FAAC communiqué no longer reflected data on gas.
Tukur solicited the cooperation of governors and council chairmen to instill true fiscal federal regime in the country by challenging the perceived excesses of the Federal Government.
Tukur decried a situation whereby his Commission did not receive support from states and councils in its legal battle against unconstitutional deductions from the federation account to finance FIRS and NCS.
Oshiomhole decried lack of reliable data on crude oil export.
According to him, despite the high incidence of illegal bunkering, neither the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) nor the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) report shortages.
The governor lamented the arbitrariness at the federal level on revenue allocation, especially between 1999 and 2007, praising RMAFC for speaking up against such illegal practices.
He promised to intimate the Governors’ Forum about RMAFC’s frustration and advise that Tukur be invited to address the body on the dangers ahead.http://thenationonlineng.net/web2/articles/22928/1/Excess-crude-cash-down-to-7b/Page1.html