Nigerian States refuse monthly allocation over N250 billion illegal deductions by NNPC

ABUJA – The lingering face-off between State governments and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, over illegal deductions and unremitted funds deepened yesterday as the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) again failed to distribute monthly allocation to the three tiers of government.

Against the backdrop of controversies occasioned by controversial N450 billion still owed FAAC by oil giant, new deductions reared their ugly heads at the FAAC technical session to dash states’ hopes of smiling home with their allocations for the month of September 2011.

For the second successive months, hours of rigorous deliberations by the technical committee failed to yield results as the States’ Commissioners of Finance engaged in a showdown with the Minister of State for Finance and Chairman of FAAC, Alhaji Yerima Lawal Ngama at the monthly meeting slated for Abuja Sheraton Hotel and Towers.

Reliable sources present during the heated meeting told our correspondent in Abuja that the bone of contention was the whooping sum of 250billion Naira deducted by the NNPC and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) from the September federation accounts revenue in the name of subsidies for petroleum products.

According to the source, the Minister, who got wind that the Commissioners had concluded plans to embarrass him by staging a walk-out, stayed away from the venue, thereby causing an indefinite postponement of the meeting.

Confirming the revelations by Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of huge illegal deductions from the Federation accounts, Acting Chairman of the State Finance Commissioners Forum and Commissioner of Finance, Anambra State, Mr. Eze Echesi said the meeting boycott was to demonstrate their anger at the continuous gross abuse of statutory laws by federal government agencies.

Comrade Oshiomhole had at the on-going ICAN annual conference regretted that the foundation of transparency in managing the federation account proceeds was compromised and that remains a major drawback for the country.

Mr. Echesi said the N100 billion Naira deducted by NNPC and the 150 billion Naira deducted by PPPRA were not only illegal but criminal in nature given that they run foul of existing laws governing the federation account.

“We don’t want to be part of the continued violation of the law. Things must be done right and that is why we insist that the money illegally deducted from our commonwealth must be returned to the coffers before we can resume discussions,” he stated.

Earlier, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala had explained that unresolved issues by the FAAC technical committee were responsible for the deadlock.

She however promised all the knotty issues would be fully addressed with the FAAC expected to reconvene soon for the distribution of the September allocation to the three tiers of government.

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