$49.8b ‘missing’ oil money: Governors insist on probe

NNPC Towers11 December 2013, Abuja – Vice-President Namadi Sambo shifted yesterday the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting fixed for tomorrow.

But governors are planning a meeting of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for tomorrow to demand answers to the nine posers they have raised on the state of the economy.

Consultations were on yesterday on the need for a emergency session of the NGF in Abuja.

The governors are likely to hold a briefing in Abuja after the NGF session.

They were determined to find out at the NEC session how about $49.8billion oil sales proceeds was not remitted to the Federation Account between January 2012 and July 2013. The governors may insist on a probe, it was learnt.

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi raised the alarm over the “missing” fund in a memo to President Goodluck Jonathan.

The postponement of the meeting was contained in a notice titled “Cancellation of 9th (53rd) NEC meeting” from the secretariat in the Office of the Vice-President.

It reads: “Please, I am directed by the Vice-President and Chairman of the Council to inform Your Excellency that the NEC meeting scheduled for Thursday, 12th December 2013 has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.

“A new date will be communicated to you.”

No reason was given for the postponement. A source said the shift followed security reports on the likelihood of the governors creating a scene on the nine posers they raised for the Presidency to address.

A governor, who pleaded not to be named, said: “We have got a notice on the postponement of the NEC meeting due to unexplained unforeseen circumstances. We know that the shift was based on fears by the Presidency because certain matters on the state of the economy are now in the public domain.

“The revelation on the alleged diversion of $49.8billion from the sale of oil has caused more tension among the governors. For the CBN Governor to have confirmed that only 24 per cent of the revenue from oil proceeds was remitted into the Federation Account is scandalous.

“The issue at stake is beyond party leanings. We are all disturbed by this disclosure from the CBN Governor in a memo to the President.”

Another governor said: “Sambo was being “tactical” in shifting the meeting because President Goodluck Jonathan is away in South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s burial and he will not want the NEC meeting to degenerate to an embarrassing level for the government in the absence of the President.

“They are trying to device means of managing the situation in a manner that there would be a soft-landing bend for the Federal Government. We are however wiser than that,” he added.

The governors plan to meet on these nine issues and come up with a position on the state of the economy.

Another source said: “They can postpone NEC meeting; they cannot stop us from talking on how the economy is being run. Why will the Federal Government present 2014 Budget without consulting NEC? Why will NNPC not remit $49.8bilion oil proceeds and the government is keeping quiet?

“In 1980, we were talking of missing N2billion but now it is $49.8billion that cannot be traced. Someone needs to talk to the governors if we are truly practising Federalism.”

The posers raised are:

•Was $50billion oil money not remitted to the Federation Account? Where is the money?

•Is Nigeria broke or not;

•Why was the NEC consulted before the 2014 budget was presented to the National Assembly;

•How much has Nigeria earned from its oil sales in 2013 and what percentage of the budget is funded by these receipts?

•Is it really true that $5b is missing from Excess Crude Account

•How much oil does the country produce per day?

•Clarification that the benchmark price for oil in the 2013 budget is $79?

•Is it a fact that crude oil was sold at prices that hovered around $110 throughout the year?



– The Nation

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