Nigeria’s Ministry of Finance on Wednesday disclosed that the amount in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) has declined from $2.319 billion to $631 million within three weeks.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Dutse while explaining the decline told journalists in Abuja that withdrawals were made by the Federal Government from the ECA to settle the last tranche of the Paris Club Refund.
According to him, when the FAAC committee meeting was held on November 25 to allocate revenue for that month, the balance in the ECA was put at $2.319 billion but on Wednesday, the balance had dropped to $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 account for the difference.”
When reminded that it was wrong for such deductions to be made for such purpose, Dutse replied that, “A decision was taken to make this refund and part of that decision is that the refund should be funded from the ECA. The Federal Executive Council, and the President approved the money.”
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris when accosted on his way out of the meeting to clarify the withdrawal said that due process was followed before the withdrawal was made.
“You can go and find out from the National Assembly if we got approval for it but due process was followed before the fund was released,” he said.
Meanwhile, the committee allocated a total amount of N812.76billion to the three tiers of government.
A breakdown of the amount showed that the Federal Government got N326.75 billion, the 36 states are to share N203.2 billlion while the 774 Local Government Councils are to share the sum of N153.52 billion.
In addition, the sum of N57.07 billion was allocated to the oil producing states based on the 13 per cent derivation principle.
The gross statutory revenue for the month of November according to Dutse was put at N649.62 billion.
This is N32.53 billion lower than the N682.16 billion received in the previous month of October.
The excess Crude Account is a special account established to keep excess revenues from the prevailing crude oil price at the international market.
Income generated above the approved crude oil benchmark price in the annual budget is saved in the account.
Withdrawal from the account is subject to the approval of the three tiers of government and the Federal Executive Council (FEC).