Barring any last minute change of mind, a consortium of Niger Delta Chiefs may be heading to a federal High Court to seek interpretation on how and when the statutory 13 per cent derivation from crude oil proceeds shall be deducted and given to oil bearing states and communities.
It would be recalled that ECA is a government account used to save oil revenues above a yearly budget benchmark price for oil sale within the financial or budget year or base amount derived from a defined benchmark price. The ECA was established in 2004, and its objective is primarily to protect planned budgets against shortfalls due to volatile crude oil prices.
In an exclusive interview with one of the proponents of the idea, Chief Dan Seriake from Delta State, he told Business Hilights that “The recent b ut failed move by the Federal Government to move away $1bn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fight the already defeated Boko Haram has opened their eyes”.
“Some of us have consulted widely, and we are at the point of deciding to head to court to seek interpretation on when the constitutional 13 per cent derivation is due for deduction from all proceeds from crude oil sales by the federal government.
He said “Currently, derivation is only deducted from proceeds of crude oil sales that are used in the national yearly budgets and not from ECA which we all know is also proceeds of crude oil.
“We want to know the difference between money from our crude oil that is within the oil benchmark and excess crude when both funds come from one source after all.
“This is important because if that $1bn had been moved away for the sake of fighting Boko Haram, it means that Niger Delta oil bearing states have lost huge amount of money which by our calculation should not be less than $130m. This is big money we cannot allow to go like that,” Chief Seriake averred.
Besides, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in its Economic Report for the Fourth Quarter of 2017, disclosed that the amount earned by the Federation from crude oil and gas sales in 2017, appreciated by 213.6 per cent or N831 billion as against N389.55 billion recorded in 2016.
Otherwise, Nigeria’s crude and oil gas sales rose sharply to N1.22 trillion in 2017, according to data obtained from the apex bank.
In a breakdown of the country’s oil and gas sales in 2017, the report noted that in the first and second quarters of the year, crude oil and gas revenue stood at N78.63 billion and N101.33 billion respectively; while it rose sharply to N771.18 billion in the third quarter, before dropping to close the fourth quarter at N236.69 billion.