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FG, states resolve FAAC stalemate

By The Rainbow
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A meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) may reconvene soon following the resolution of issues on disagreement among the three tiers of government.

The agreement was reached by a committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan to resolve the stalemate arising from the sharing of federally collected revenue among the three tiers of government, which led to a walk out of representatives of 36 states of the federation from FAAC meeting last week.

The committee, which is headed by Bauchi State Governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda, was constituted by the president following a meeting with the state governors in Abuja on Monday night.

The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is also a member of committee, spoke on behalf of others in Abuja on Tuesday.

She said that meeting of the committee  that an agreement had been reached on how to resolve all outstanding issues pertaining to the Federation Account.

According to her, a commitment to settle the arrears of FAAC payments had been extracted.

She  that beyond the immediate disagreement the committee also agreed to tackle headlong  the root causes of the revenue challenges facing the country, including illegal bunkering and oil theft in a decisive and sustainable manner.

The minister said the meeting of the committee was held in a peaceful atmosphere devoid of rancour and mudslinging.

The three tiers of government, Okonjo Iweala added, resolved the issue of what the arrears really are.

'FAAC accumulated some arrears when we were trying to put our accounts together. There is no debt and no agreement to sign, it is a federation account issue and we are all in it together,' she said.

Other members of the Yuguda-led committee are the Governors of Delta, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi; and Gombe State, Alahaji Ibrahim Dankwanbo.

Also in the committee are Ngama; the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Jonah Otunla; and the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Dr Bright Okogu.

The Forum of Commissioners of Finance of Nigeria (FCFN), which has representatives from the 36 states of the federation, walked out of the monthly meeting of FAAC last Thursday over allegations of unpaid arrears amounting to about N160 billion.

In boycotting the plenary last week, the commissioners had argued that the FAAC plenary session, particularly in May, was inconclusive because the arrears of February had not yet been paid, while there was no resolution on when it would be disbursed to states.

In a bid to resolve the stalemate, Jonathan met with the governors in Abuja on Monday and set up the Yuguda committee