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FAAC: FG, STATES REACH ACCORD, SHARE N611BN FOR SEPT.

By NBF News
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By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA-After over a week of negotiations, the federal government and state governments yesterday, reached an accord on the sharing of the September revenue as a total of N611. 453 billion was distributed among the three tiers of government.

The Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama, who briefed the press after the Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, in Abuja, disclosed that the states and local government accounts, as well as, federal government Ministries, Departments and Agencies' accounts were to be credited immediately after the meeting which ended at about 6.34 pm.

According to him, all federal government workers whose salaries were delayed owing to the inability of the two top tiers of government to reach an agreement on the revenue to be shared would be paid today.

The funds will be distributed to the various MDS tonight and by we hope that by tomorrow (today) latest all Friday all federal government workers will receive their salaries,', Dr. Ngama said.

The minister disclosed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was had commenced the re-payment of the backlog of unremitted fund owed the Federation. He however, clarified that only the share of the states was being paid at the rate of N7.6 billion monthly.

According to him, the corporation paid that agreed monthly installment for both September and October together and that the money would be shared among the states at a later date.

A total of N988.697 billion accrued to the Federation Account and proceeds of the Value Added Tax, VAT, in the month under review.

While a total of N924.532 billion accrued to Federation Account, earnings from VAT stood at N64.147 billion.

The accruals from mineral and non-mineral was N356.342 billion revenue budget of N568.181 billion for the month of September. A total of N257.563 billion was therefore transferred to the Excess crude Account.

An analysis of the distribution showed that the federal government took N 269.465 billion, states got N161.125 billion, while the local governments were given N 122.162 billion. The 9 oil producing states received an additional N60.249 billion, representing 13 per cent derivation from oil and gas revenue.

It will be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan met with state governors on Tuesday behind closed doors in a bid to resolve the disagreement between federal and state governments over alleged illegal deductions from the Federation Account by the Federal Government and the NNPC refusal to pay up the N450 billion debt which delayed the sharing of September revenue allocation.

On two different occasions, attempts made by the Federal Government to persuade the states to allow the sharing of the Federal Revenue for September failed as States insisted that they will accept their September allocation only when the N250 billion that was deducted by Federal Government agencies to fund 'oil subsidy' was returned to the accounts.

State Finance commissioners failed to show up at the meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, - the body that statutorily outlines the sharing formula of the cash in the Federation Account among the three tiers of government every month - in Abuja on Monday.

This is the second time in two weeks that they have boycotted the meeting. On October 18, the commissioners staged a walkout over the N250 billion deducted by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA.

The action stalled the sharing of the September allocation, which is estimated at N1 trillion before the deductions. Anambra State Finance Commissioner Mr. Eze Echesi, who is the co-ordinator of Finance Commissioners, described the deduction as 'illegal withdrawal'.

At the Sheraton Hotel venue of the meeting on Monday, some officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance were waiting for the commissioners but none turned up.

It was further learnt that the refusal of the commissioners to attend the meeting might not be unconnected with the scheduled meeting between the President and governors.'

Jonathan was said to have, while in Australia, called for the meeting to break the ice in the frosty relationship between the Federal Government and the states.

'We operate under the instruction of our governors. If our governors ask us to attend the FAAC meeting, we will do so. But for now, we do not have such instruction,' a state commissioner said.

A meeting of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, was said to have been held earlier yesterday, shortly before they met with the President. The governors are also battling the Federal Government over the Sovereign Wealth Fund, SWF, and the review of the revenue allocation formula. They are at the Supreme Court seeking the declaration of the SWF as illegal.