Certain requests are quite queer- what projects did the governors have that were so important that they could not wait for the 2013 budget to be approved?
FG declines $1bn request by governors
The Federal Government has declined the request by the 36 state governors to disburse one billion dollars from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) in December.
The Minister of State for Finance, Dr Yerima Ngama, made this known on Tuesday in Abuja at the monthly Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
He, however, said the Federal Government ``accessed’’ one billion dollars from the account in December to offset the fuel subsidy claims to oil marketers.
He said the withdrawal followed the approval of a Supplementary Budget of N161 billion for fuel subsidy payments by the National Assembly.
``We withdrew the amount (one billion dollars) to pay subsidy to oil marketers but not on the account for distribution to governors based on their request.
``Because of the withdrawal, we had a dip in the excess crude account, but yet we have credited the account (in December) with N91.70 billion and that will bring the total to 9.20 billion dollars.
``This shows that we have really met our target of having to save 10 billion dollars in the ECA for the year 2012.
``Because if not for the Supplementary Budget, we could have ended up with over 10 billion dollars.’’
The minister told newsmen that with over 42 billion-dollar foreign reserves, the country had more than enough to pay for three months' import.
``The finances of this country are in solid state and this is credit to the exemplary leadership style of President Goodluck Jonathan's administration.’’
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that in December, the 36 state governors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors' Forum, had requested for one billion dollars to ``fund ongoing projects’’.
Sokoto State Deputy Gov. Mukhtar Shagari, who presented the request on behalf for the governors, said the fund would ``help state governments meet up with their financial responsibilities as the year is coming to an end.’’
Earlier, the minister announced that the FAAC meeting distributed N567.70 billion to the three tiers of government from the Federation account for the month of December 2012.
A breakdown of the figures showed that the Federal Government received N217.42 billion (52.68 per cent), state governments N110.28 billion (26.72 per cent) and the local governments got N85.02 billion.
According to the minister, the Value Added Tax (VAT) distributed for the month was N57.53 billion, compared with N62.7 billion in November.
Also, a total of N49.7 billion representing 13 per cent oil derivation was shared among the oil producing states for December.