Excess Crude Account: AGF Misled Nigerians, Says Presidency | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

News, Slider

Excess Crude Account: AGF Misled Nigerians, Says Presidency

Posted: Jul 8, 2015 at 3:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

• Fund, Savings By Our Administration, Says PDP  •  Bailout Counter-Productive – Boyo

By Chesa Chesa, Abuja, Augustine Adah, William Igenegbai  –  Lagos


The Presidency, on Tuesday, countered the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over his statement on the planned sharing of funds in the Excess Crude Account (ECA).

Idris had told State House Correspondents on Monday that the Excess Crude Account would be liquidated and the entire $1.7 billion therein shared among the federal, state and local governments as palliatives.

Fielding questions from reporters after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the AGF said of the ECA: “What we met on ground is what we are going to distribute. It is hovering around $1.6 and $1.7 billion, and that is what we are going to distribute among all the three tiers of governments, the federal, states and local governments based on the approved formula.”

But an Aso Rock statement said on Tuesday that it was incorrect to report that the President approved the sharing of the money in the ECA among the three tiers of government.

The statement, issued by Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, noted: “Reports in sections of the media today that funds will be drawn from the Excess Crude Account for the relief package approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for states and local governments, are incorrect.”

What was approved by the President to deal with the problem of unpaid public sector salaries in many states, Adesina continued, is the “sharing of the $2.1 billion dividend paid to the Federation Account by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG);

“A Central Bank-packaged special intervention fund that will offer financing to the states, ranging from N250 billion to N300 billion. This will be a soft loan available to states for the purposes of paying backlog of salaries; and

“A debt relief programme designed by the Debt Management Office which will help states restructure their commercial loans currently put at over N660 billion, and extend the life span of such loans while reducing their debt-servicing expenditures.

“The measures approved by President Buhari definitely do not include drawing down the remaining balance in the Excess Crude Account or the ‘liquidation’ of the account as some media outlets have wrongly reported.

“No such decision has been taken or approved by President Buhari, and last week’s meeting of the National Economic Council clearly concluded that the Excess Crude Account should be left untouched at this time.”

Reacting to the proposed bailout of troubled states in the country, Economist and newspaper columnist, Henry Boyo, said that the plan would indeed have a constructive impact on the economy. He however noted that such improvement is an inverted comma, and would be counterproductive.

According to Boyo, the bailout, which would lead to additional inflow of N800 billion, would result in overflow of liquidity.

Also, Chairman of Inter- Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), Comrade Yunusa Tanko, described the decision of President Buhari to counter the earlier statement by the Accountant General, on the sharing of the ECA as evidence of improper coordination in the government.

“What I want to say is: Where did the Accountant General get his information on the sharing of ECA fund. It is an indication that something is not working properly in this government.”

Tanko urged the new Buhari government to be sure of any information it gives out to Nigerians, to avoid a similar situation in the future.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Tuesday urged the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to give credit to the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan for leaving behind the money the current administration is giving as bailout funds to the three-tiers of governments now experiencing cash crunch.

The opposition party said the fact that the Buhari government is able to release over N804 billion from the nation’s coffers as bailout is an indication that it did not inherit an empty treasury as earlier claimed.

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, in a statement, however, applauded the Buhari administration for releasing the money to the cash-strapped states, saying it would alleviate the suffering of the masses.

According to Metuh, “we want to believe that given the President’s release of such huge amount, he may have realised that he was earlier misdirected on the actual financial state of the nation at the time he took over. In this regard, we expect the President, as a respected statesman to do the needful to correct that erroneous impression.

“Furthermore, we expect President Buhari’s APC administration as the direct beneficiary of this savings initiated by past PDP administrations to appreciate the strategic importance of always saving for rainy days and as such guarantee prudent and transparent management of the nation’s resources now under its care.”

The party charged the “APC as a party in government to put its house in order, desist from injecting confusion and distracting the President from settling down to form a government and face the enormous challenges of governance, especially the implementation of his long list of campaign promises to Nigerians.

“It said that Nigerians were no longer interested in insults, tirades and propaganda but in actions and policies that would move the nation forward,” he added.