Respite has come the way of the 36 states as the Federal Government, Tuesday, suspended deductions periodically made from various loans given to the states to enable them pay workers’ salaries and stabilise their economies.
The suspension of deduction takes effect from April and may be extended, depending on the debt profile and social needs of states. The decision was reached at the meeting of the National Executive Council, NEC, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who alongside the Governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura and the Corps Marshall and Chief Executive of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, gave the revelation at a briefing with State House correspondents, however, stated that the postponement did not in any way connote financial bailout. She added that the gesture was principally informed by falling oil prices which had drastically affected the income of the Federal Government and states. She said: “On the update of the financial situation of the states, it was discussed extensively that currently, the federation account receipt is among the lowest that has been seen in recent memory. ‘’We are looking at N299 billion this month and that is because of the very low oil prices recorded in January and February. If you remember, oil prices went as low as $28 and $31 and, of course, that has led to a very low federation account as a result of which I approached the President and the governors that we defer the loan deductions from the federation account entitlement.” FG, states, LGs share N299bn Meanwhile, the federal and the two other tiers of government, yesterday, shared N 299. 747 billion from the Federation Account and proceeds of Value Added Tax for the month of March. The figure represented a dwindling profile of the nation’s revenue which has continued to take its toll on funds available to the three tiers of government. The gross statutory revenue stood at N 232.819 billion which was N30.880 less than the N270.499 billion recorded in the previous month. A total of N 64 billion was realised from Value Added Tax, VAT. The Federal Government took a total of N 109.113 billion from the statutory allocation and N 9.250 billion from VAT. The states got a total of N56 billion, while local governments received N 44. 1 billion. The nine oil producing states got an additional N19.75 billion, representing 13 per cent derivation on oil revenue. Excess Crude Account now $2.3bn Presenting a report on update of the Excess Crude Account, Adeosun also revealed that the balance of the account as at the moment stood at $2.3 billion. She also said that the board of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority had been constituted. “I, as the Minister of Finance, presented a report on the balance of excess crude account, which stands at $2.3 billion, on the account of the interest that has been received since the last update.”