Presidency Counters Accountant-General Over Sharing Of ECA Funds | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Presidency Counters Accountant-General Over Sharing Of ECA Funds

Posted: Jul 7, 2015 at 6:31 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chesa Chesa, Abuja

The Presidency on Tuesday countered the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, who told State House Correspondents a day earlier that the entire fund in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) valued at about $1.7 billion would be shared among federal and state governments as palliative.

Answering reporters’ questions after he met with President Buhari, the Accountant-General had said of the ECA: “What we met on ground is what we are going to distribute. It is hovering between $1.6 and $1.7 billion, and that is what we are going to distribute among all the three tiers of government, the federal, states and local governments, based on the approved formula.”

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

The statement issued by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, reads: “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.

“For the purpose of greater clarity on the matter, the measures approved by President Buhari to deal with the problem of unpaid public sector salaries in many states are as follows:

“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.?”