Governors, Okonjo-Iweala Fight over $20bn

Wed, May 20, 2015
By publisher



The Nigerian Governors Forum and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala are engaged in a war of words over the alleged $20 billion that accrue to the Excess Crude Account

GOVERNORS and the ministry of finance are at daggers drawn over the estimated $20 billion they claimed accrued to the Excess Crude Account, ECA, between June 2013 and April 2015. While the governors at the meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ forum demand an explanation from Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy, she in turn swiftly asked the governors to get their commissioners of finance to explain to them what became of the amount.

Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, who spoke on behalf of the governors, has on May 18, said that “In light of the fact that funds in the Excess Crude were disbursed in May 2013, there is need for the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to provide explanation for accruals to this account from June 2013 to April 2015 which is estimated at over $20 billion.”

However, Paul Nwabuikwu, spokesperson of the minister, on Tuesday, May 19, said:  “It has come to our attention that governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum have requested that the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance should account for an estimated $20 billion oil revenue from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) from June 2013 to April 2015. There is no basis for the demand and the stated amount.

“The statement by the governors is totally strange because FAAC meets every month, and the ECA is discussed at every session with all the state commissioners of finance present. Nothing is hidden. At these meetings, the Honourable Minister of State, who is the Chairman of FAAC, announces the balance in the ECA, which is then discussed. So, governors who want any information about the ECA, should ask for details from their commissioners who should have the records of what was discussed and agreed upon. Details of the ECA are also published every month along with the allocations to the three tiers of government.

“The reference to June 2013 in the statement is probably because the National Economic Council last met in May 2013. But this is immaterial because the FAAC meetings during which the ECA and similar issues are discussed have generally held regularly every month,” he said.

— May 20, 2015 @ 11:00 GMT