The Forum of Commissioners of Finance from the 36 states of the federation has passed a resolution for the removal of fuel subsidy.
The Chairman of the forum, Timothy Odaah, told journalists shortly after this month’s Federation Account Allocation Committee’s meeting in Abuja that the resolution was passed following irregularities observed in the fuel subsidy regime.
The FAAC meeting, which was chaired by the Accountant -General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla, was convened to consider and approve statutory allocations for February in which the three tiers of government shared shared N641.2bn from the Federation Account
Odaah, who is also the Commissioner of Finance representing Ebonyi State at FAAC, said the resolution would be sent to the Nigerian Governors’ Forum for transmission to President Goodluck Jonathan anddescribed the payment of fuel subsidy as a scam against some states, especially the less industrialised ones as it had made “the rich to become richer while the poor are become poorer.”
He argued that if Nigerians had not protested against the removal of fuel subsidy in January 2012, most states would have experienced significant level of development.
“We looked at subsidy on oil as more or less a solution worse than the problem it is meant to solve. Looking at it presently, you will discover that it is not solving the problem which it is meant to solve. In the first place, the NLC and the majority of the Nigerian populace appear to have been deceived into clamouring for subsidy.
“Projects and programmes that were put in especially with regard to easing transportation problem and likewise tariffs on power supply but you will discover that it’s an average poor man that suffers. It’s a system that robs Peter to pay Paul by making the rich to grow richer and the poor the poor to go poorer.
“There are some states that are fully industrialized and you use this subsidy in that particular place and the people who benefit more are those from the states that are industrialized. The fuel consumption of those industries uses more of the fuel subsidy unlike the states that are under -industrialized.
“So, what we are advocating is that the subsidy be removed so that every state or any member of the federating unit sharing from FAAC will take his own money, then decide to use it or grant subsidy in a level that it will be able to afford,” Odaah said.
The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Jonah Otunla told journalists in Abuja after the outcome of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting that the distributable statutory revenue for February was N531.332bn, which is N27.647bn more than the N503.685 billion that was shared for the month of January.
“Also distributed is the sum of N7.617bn refunded by the NNPC to be shared to states and local governments. In addition, the sum of N35.549bn is proposed for distribution under the SURE-P Programme.
“So the total revenue distributable for the current month, including Value Added Tax (VAT) of N66.801bn is N641.299bn,’’ he said.
A breakdown of the distribution showed that the Federal Government received N247.533bn, representing 52.68 per cent; states, N125.552bn, representing 26.72 per cent, while local governments received N96.795bn, amounting to 20.60 per cent.
Otunla added that N56.384bn, representing 13 per cent derivation revenue was shared among the oil producing states.
On VAT, the AGF said that the gross revenue collected in February was N66.801bn as against N82.277bn distributed in January representing a decrease of N15.476bn.
He said that the mineral revenue collected for February was N569.136bn, more than the N439.562bn realised in January making a different of N129.574bn.
He stated that non-mineral revenue collected during the period under review was N97.609bn.
The figure he added showed reduction of N3.699bn from the N101.308bn that was collected in January.
Otunla said that N135.413bn was transferred to the nation’s Excess Crude Account (ECA), thereby bringing the total in the account of ECA to 3.456bn US dollars.
He said that oil revenue for February was impressive in spite the problems such as shutdown of some terminals either because of pipelines leakage or fire outbreak being encountered in the oil sector.
He said that the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company made an exceptional deposit of N82bn which he noted helped to boost the revenue for the month under review.
Otunla said that the other matters discussed at the meeting was the issue of oil subsidy which resulted in a 12-man committee to look into the issue.
He said that the committee consisted of six Accountants-General of states and six state commissioners for finance and was expected to conduct the investigation and submit its report at the next meeting of the committee.