Fed Govt drains ECA of $1.68b in one month

                         

The withdrawal of $1.68 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) in one month by the Federal Government has left a balance of $631 million in the strategic Excess Crude Account as at December 19, it was learnt yesterday .

The ECA is a buffer account held in trust by the government to cushion the effects of economic volatilities during hard times. However, the Federal Government said it swept the account of 72.7 per cent of the original savings to off-set the last tranche of the Paris Club obligations to states.

Addressing reporters at the end of the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting in Abuja yesterday, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa Dutse, disclosed the balance in the ECA as $631 million.

When asked to clarify the figures, Dutse maintained that the balance in the ECA was $631 million. “The balance in the ECA is $631 million. The final payment for Paris Club refund to states was made and the figure was deducted and that’s what accounts for the difference.”

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Asked him if money “from the ECA to settle Paris Club refunds?”, the permanent secretary responded: “A decision was taken to make this refund and part of that decision is that the refund should be funded from the ECA. Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the president approved the money.”

At the November FAAC meeting in Kaduna, what was declared to be left in the ECA was $2.319 billion but by last night the account had been depleted by 72.7per cent to $631 million.

Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) Mr. Ahmed Idris, when asked by reporters to shed more light on the depletion of the ECA, directed the inquiry be from the National Assembly if parliamentary approval was given for the withdrawal but insisted that they “followed due process” in depleting the account.

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With regards to the monthly FAAC disbursements, Isa Dutse disclosed that a total of N812.762 billion was distributed as Federal Allocation for the month of November 2018 between the Federal, States and Local Government Councils.

The communiqué issued by the Technical Sub -Committee of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) at the end of its December meeting, indicated that the gross statutory revenue received was N649.629 billion. This sum is lower than the N682.161 billion received in the previous month by N32.533 billion.

The breakdown of the distributable revenue of N812.762 billion, comprised the statutory revenue of N649.629 billion, Gross Value Added Tax of N92.079 billion, forex equalisation of N70.000 billion and an Exchange Gain of N1.055 billion.

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Therefore, from the Gross statutory revenue, Federal Government received N280.913 billion representing 52.68 per cent; states got N142.483 billion representing 26.72 per cent; local government areas received N109.848 billion representing 20.60 per cent; while the oil producing states received N47.882 billion representing 13per cent derivation revenue.

The breakdown of distribution to the three tiers from Value Added Tax (VAT) showed that Federal Government received N13.259 billion representing 15 per cent; states received N44.198 billion representing 50 per cent while the local government councils received N30.938 billion, also representing 35 per cent.

The Communique added that the revenue from the Company Income Tax(CIT) increased significantly while revenues from VAT, Import Duty, Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) and Foreign Oil and Gas, Domestic Oil and Gas Royalties all decreased.

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