By Ifeanyi Olannye
Asaba, Nov. 21, 2022 Delta Government says it has accessed N44.7 billion out of the N240 billion due it from the 13 per cent derivation fund owed by Federal Government.
The State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Fidelis Tilije, disclosed this while briefing newsmen at Government House, Asaba.
Naija247news reports that the briefing was done in company of Commissioner for Special Duties, Chief Henry Sakpara, and Mr Oilsa Ifeajika, Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa,
Tilije noted that Gov. Okowa’s administration was transparent and open to the people with its finances, programmes and projects.
He added that the N240 billion was Delta share of the payment approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for the nine oil producing states from 2004 to date.
He said that the state government had initially applied for N150 billion bridging finance which it later tuned down to N100 billion from the expected Refund of N240 billion to meet payment of its legacy projects in the state.
He said that the benefiting states had agreed that the Federal Government defrayed the payment over five years period, adding that Delta Government had so far received N14.7 billion for three quarters from the N240 billion.
According to Tilije, the state government has also accessed the sum of N30 billion from the N100 billion bridging finance facility.
“So, in a way, the state has accessed and utilised the N14.7 billion paid by the Federal Government and the N30 billion from the bridging finance for payment for ongoing projects,” he said.
Tilije said that the legacy projects included Kwale Industrials Park; Leisure and film village, Asaba; Koko interchange and flyover; Ughelli-Asaba dual carriage; and three new state universities, which were at various stages of completions.
He said that the state government also appropriated the sum of five billion naira to address the issues of payment of pension for both the state civil service and the Local Government workers.
He noted that Delta had many cities big enough to be capital, adding that state government has appropriately addressed their needs; unlike other states with only one capital city.
“It is true that the funds that we are referring to have actually been approved for payment by the Federal Government since 2004.
“The payment came about because the current commissioners of finance from the nine benefiting states looked into the books of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and found out the indebtedness that the company failed to deduct to the credit of the oil producing states.
“These fund has to do with the subsidy that the Federal Government has been paying overtime and also with the investment in other oil frontiers in the nation(priority projects).
According to Tilije, when the NNPC book was cross-checked and it was found that 13 per cent derivation were not deducted from all oil subsidies and priority projects that were paid by NNPC.
” As at the time we figure it out in September 2021, we were able to convince plenary of Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) and also to National Executive Council (NEC) that the monies were credible and must be paid.
“The total amount owed Delta with respect to the deductions was N240 billion.
The Federal Government agreed to pay the money in five years quarterly and as we speak, Delta has received N4.9 billion in three quarters which amount to about N14.7 billion,” he said.
He said that unlike other oil producing states that had discounted their funds in full, Delta government had decided not to discount and access the entire N240 billion but to save some money for the next administration.
Tilije said that the state government was committed to laying solid foundation for the next administration, adding that the coming administration would have access to as much as N12 billion quarterly on account of the N240 billion secured.
On his part, Ifeajika, said that Gov. Okowa-led administration had been transparent, adding that the opposition party was economical with the truth to say that the government had nothing to offer.
He said that the state government was committed to completing all legacy projects before the end of the administration.