Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has responded to calls from the Governor Rotimi Amaechi-led Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) for her to explain the sum of $20 billion allegedly missing from the Excess Crude Account (ECA).
The minister described the governors demands as “strange”.
Speaking via a statement issued by her Special Adviser, Paul Nwabuikwu, she said that ECA is discussed at every meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), which holds every month and is attended by all state commissioners of finance.
“Nothing is hidden. At these meetings, the Honorable Minister of State who is the chairperson 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,” Okonjo-Iweala stressed.
She claimed that details of the ECA are published every month along with the allocations to the three tiers, Federal, State and Local, 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.
“It is interesting that Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State who was reported to have read the communique on behalf of the governors made a similar unsubstantiated allegation in November 2013 that $5 billion was missing from the ECA.
“We subsequently showed with facts that not only was the amount not missing, Rivers State received N257.6 billion from the Federation Account between January and October 2013, the second highest among the states, of which N56.2 billion from the Excess Crude Account was a part.
“In the interest of transparency and accountability, and to throw more light on this issue, the Federal Ministry of Finance will publish details of the ECA for the last four years within the next few days,” the statement concluded.