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FG’s manipulations in ECA shortening N’Delta states’ allocations—Bayelsa Dep. Gov

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…Seeks review of FAAC terms in monthly allocations

Fresh disturbing observation has been made by the Deputy Governor of oil-rich Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John-Jonah (retd), suggesting that the Federal Government may have been in the habit of short-changing Niger Delta State by veiled manipulations.
John-Jonah, who addressed select media executives in Yenagoa at the monthly transparency briefing recently, called for a review of the terms and conditions used in sharing monthly allocations to states by the FAAC as many states with small land space, poor population and less number of local governments. Recall that Bayelsa has only nine LGA with a population of less than four million on limited land space with more water bodies.
In his argument over observed federal manipulation on ECA, the Deputy Governor averred that “As at the last report, the Excess Crude Account at the national level is almost empty. It’s about N130 million from billions of naira we had in that account. At the time the Excess Crude Account Loan Facility was discussed at the National Economic Council, our state position was that we didn’t need any loan because excess account was there.
According to him, “If you look at the papers, the money distributed this month was more than last month. But we got less. When you talk about the factors that they use, the only one that favoured us is the 13 per cent derivation.
He noted that when the current Federal Government administration came in, “They have a way of adjusting a few things. So you always see that once the Excess Crude is manipulated, our allocation comes down automatically.
“We are the most advantaged as far as other variables such as number of local governments, land area, and population are concerned. That is why you see our allocation coming down even when the amount being distributed at the centre is increasing.”
He queried why upon steadily rising monthly states allocations by FAAC, earnings by Niger Delta states from the statutory 13 per cent Derivation Account has been on the down side, thus signalling suspicion of manipulation by Abuja.
Rolling out the Bayelsa State’s income and expenditure accounts for last month, John-Jonah noted that Bayelsa statutory receipts had dropped from N13 billion in February to N11 billion in May this year due to manipulation of the Excess Crude Account by the Federal Government.
Figures he rolled out showed that whereas gross inflow from FAAC was N12.7 billion compared to the N13.2bn in March, 2019 with a difference of N549 million, April statutory allocation as N2.4bn, representing a decline of N1.2bb, derivation N7.2bn , Value Added Tax N795.5million and Forex equalization fund N1.6bn, representing a positive difference of N1.7million.
Within the period under review, first-line FAAC deductions amounted to N1.55bn, including bond of N421m, restructured repayment of previous overpayments to the state N127m, restructured commercial bank loans N741million and ECA loan facility of N126million.
He warned that Niger Delta states will rise against any form of further manipulation on the accounting system of 13 per cent derivation to check any form of leakage going forward.

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