Nigerian states demand $2bn, end of fuel subsidy

Nov 19 2014 – 10:41am (The News Online)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: states want money from ECA

The Chairman, State Finance Commissioners Forum, Timothy Odah, said that the Nigerian states want two billion dollars from the Excess Crude Account to enable them complete ongoing projects, as revenue allocations to them decline for the third month running.

At the moment, the account has a balance of $4.11 billion. Revenues distributed to the country’s three tiers of government in October – federal, state and local – were 593.33 billion naira, down from 603.5 billion naira in September, Accountant General Jonah Otunla said.

Federal government revenues rose to 536.69 billion naira in October, up 6.9 percent from September owing to improvements in crude revenues, despite a sharp fall in global oil prices, Otunla also said.

Odah lamented that the states and the local governments were suffering from dearth of funds to carry out meaningful projects at the local levels, adding that there was need for them to create jobs for the people.

He also said that state governments were still clamouring for total removal of fuel subsidy, according to him, is not necessary considering the fact that there is “no enough money”.

“There is no reason giving out what you do not have,” he said.

On the declining global oil price, Odah said the state governments were aware and stressed that diversification of the economy was necessary to cushion the effect of the development “in the long run”.

Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi okonjo-Iweala while announcing a raft of austerity measures on Sunday indicated that $2billion will be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account to meet government’s financial obligations. She did not however indicate whether the money would be given to the states or used to pay the N283 billion being owed oil importers.