Bayelsa Govt Decries Illegal Deductions From ECA... Declares N4.4Bn Balance for July

Bayelsa State Government has decried illegal deduction of revenues from the Excess Crude Account without by the federal government.

The state government described the deductions as unconstitutional saying monies domiciled in the ECA are proceeds from the 13% derivation meant for oil producing states.

Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John-Jonah, made the comment during the monthly Transparency Briefing on the income and expenditure for the months of June and July at Government House, Yenagoa on Wednesday.

He wondered why the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, (FAAC,) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, would be reporting frequent shortfalls in revenue even when the variables favour improved receipts from the Federation Account.

He explained that the Governors Forum was told during a meeting with  the Federal Allocation Accounts Committee, FAAC, and NNPC, that Nigerians consume 60m litres of petrol daily and pays the subsidy to marketers even when the records from the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, show that Nigerians use only 38m litres daily.

Rear Admiral John-Jonah further stressed that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government continues to pay subsidy for the quantity of petrol that is not consumed by the citizenry, noting that the Governors Forum has not received clear answers on the deduction.

His words: “You will recall that the federal government could not distribute monies to states and local governments for some time because of a shortfall. It was not so much a shortfall than a suspicion that certain practices were not normal. The Governors Forum suspected a foul-play because the quantity of crude oil export is increasing; the prices are increasing and the naira has been devalued by 100%.

“Even if the quantity is not increasing, the thinking of the forum is that as long as you have devalued you should have more naira to compensate for the loss of crude oil that is exported. So why will the money be reducing when all the variables are very favourable”.

Giving a breakdown of the figures for the month of June, the Deputy Governor announced a gross FAAC inflow of N14.3b comprising statutory allocation of N3b, derivation N10.3 and Value Added Tax (VAT) of 802m.

According to him, total FAAC deductions gulped N1.6b which includes, bond deduction of N421m, restructured commercial bank loan N741m, refund of overpayments for revised 13% derivation N128m, excess crude account facility N126m and refunds of arrears to Akwa Ibom state N33m.

On outflows, Rear Admiral John-Jonah said N1.8b was expended on contractual gurantees, civil servants and political appointee salaries N3.2b, salary grant to tertiary institutions N630m, gratuities N23.8m and 10% contribution to primary school teachers N46m.

The Deputy Governor, who declared N12.2b as the gross inflow from FAAC for the month of July, noted that the state raked in an Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of N1.02b for June 2018.

He said total payments for last month amounted to N12b comprising a recurrent of N4b and capital payment of N8b, adding that the state was left with N4.4b as at the end of last month.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson pointed out that the transparency briefing is not only a ritual but has made Bayelsa a reference point in terms of openness and accountability in governance.

Mr. Iworiso-Markson commended media practitioners in the state for the contributions and urged them to maintain their support for the Restoration Government to deliver more dividends of democracy.