Bayelsa Sues FG For Draining Federation Account Through Subsidy
· Edo, seven others sign Open Government Partnership
Bayelsa Sues FG For Draining Federation Account Through Subsidy – Bayelsa State has dragged the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to the Supreme Court, arguing that the N6.43 trillion claimed to have been spent by the Federal Government on petroleum subsidy was kept as “Withheld Fund”.
The state’s Attorney General, Kemasuode Wodu, wants the Supreme Court to restrain the Federal Government from utilising any part of the revenue from crude oil to pay for petroleum subsidy.
He said that the various activities of the Federal Government under its petroleum subsidy regime resulted in continuous dwindling of the federation account to the detriment of states because of the unlawful deduction from source.
The deduction, Bayelsa said, has adversely affected accruals to the states as well as the 13 per cent derivation fund payable to oil-producing states.
In its statement of claim, the plaintiff averred that between January 2011 and December 2017, the revenue collected from the sale of crude oil lifted by the Federal Government under its Domestic Crude Oil Sales Revenue regime amounted to over N15 trillion, out of which less than N9 trillion was remitted to the Federation Account.
Meanwhile, Edo has joined other state governments in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative, to empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
Governor Godwin Obaseki made the disclosure during the launch of Open Niger Delta (OPENED) project, in partnership with African Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (ANEEEJ) in the Government House, Benin City, yesterday.
Other states that signed into the initiative are Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Ebonyi, Kaduna, Kano and Niger, while Bayelsa and Delta have indicated interest.
The governor, represented by his Chief of Staff, Taiwo Akerele, noted that the state was committed to the general principles of transparency in the conduct of government business.
The executive director of ANEEJ, David Ugolor, said OPENED was being supported by Bread for the World Protestant Development Service, to mainstream open government partnership principles in the Niger Delta.
It was learnt that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) currently withdraws three major cost elements from the aggregate revenue from crude sales before making available the monthly statutory allocation for the three tiers of government.
They are the cost of crude production, subsidy on imported Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) known as petrol, and the corporation’s daily operating expenses.
Last April, it was estimated that a total of N1.4 trillion was being spent annually by the NNPC as subsidy on PMS.
But the Federal Government described this sum as under-recovery, noting that the NNPC had been shouldering the huge financial burden, as the supplier of last resort for PMS.
Also in April, the Senate declared the subsidy payments for of PMS as illegal and asked the corporation to refund N216 billion spent for the purpose in 2017 under the guise of “operational costs” into government’s coffers.