Uche Usim, Abuja
Attempts to resolve the lingering feud between the state governments and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on May’s revenue earnings ended in another deadlock, yesterday as the parties failed to agree on the controversial issue.
The May revenue was to be shared in June to the three tiers of government who rely on Federal Government’s subvention to pay salaries and execute other operations.
But the Commissioners of Finance of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) who attended the reconciliatory meeting on Tuesday stormed out of the venue fuming as the outcome was still inconclusive.
The meeting is to be reconvened tomorrow when the members of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) would determine what will be shared between the three tiers of government in June.
Unfortunately, workers’ salaries for June are still hanging as they are yet to be paid second week into July.
At the centre of the disagreement is a contentious N20 billion, which the states claim NNPC reportedly failed to remit.
According to the states, NNPC remitted N127 billion into the federation account instead of N147 billion going by the usual calculation template.
The Chairman, Commissioners of Finance Forum, Mahmood Yunusa, declined comments yesterday when journalists pressed to know why the meeting was inconclusive.
However, NNPC, through its spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu, recently said it has a subsisting agreement with the states to remit N112 billion monthly into the federation account but has gone ahead to surpass the threshold by remitting N147 billion in May. He also said it was unfortunate that state governors have formed the habit of rushing to the press at the slightest opportunity of disagreement at FAAC meetings and using same as an excuse not to pay salaries.
“It is a ploy to set the public against the NNPC. Yet, it is the same Governors’ Forum that approved the cash call exit to restore investors’ confidence and boost crude oil production, thereby generating more revenue for them to share.
All crude oil sales proceeds go straight into the CBN and not NNPC accounts,” Ughamadu said. But while countering NNPC, Yunusa said the states got more revenue from NNPC when crude oil was N50/barrel and now get far less when the commodity is selling at almost N80/ barrel, wondering why such discrepancy.
He alleged that NNPC runs an opaque operation such that it claimed it spent N3.5 billion on repairs of vandalised pipelines, product leakages and losses in May, which the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) was not aware of.
He said the squabble with NNPC has been formally reported to President Muhammadu Buhari for appropriate actions, noting that the states were solidly behind the Minister of Finance who has insisted on reconciliation of the contentious figures.