May reject federal funds
Reiterate opposition to sovereign wealth fund
RISING from an emergency meeting in the early hours of yesterday in Abuja, the Governors’ Forum decried alleged continuous deductions from state allocations by the Federal Government to support oil subsidy, stressing that it is a “constitutional violation”.
Consequently, the governors have direct their commissioners of finance to reject all allocations that are contrary to the provision of the 2011 Appropriation Act.
In a communique signed by the Executive Governor of Rivers State and Chairman, Governors’ Forum, Rotimi Amaechi, the governors “unanimously rejected all illegal deductions” by the Federal Government, saying all “lawful deductions for the year have been fully made.”
And in an interview with The Guardian, Amaechi said: “We are waiting for the President to return from Australia, where he is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Governments (CHOGM) meeting. Then we will make our position known to him”.
The Governors’ Forum chairman also restated the group’s opposition to the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) “so long as it does not fall within the provisions in the 1999 Constitution.”
Amaechi also stressed that the governors’ insistence on the removal of fuel subsidy stemmed from “the inherent corruption in the system and the financial recklessness of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).”
The governor stated this in Port Harcourt yesterday at a colloquium with the theme, “Jurisprudence, democracy and the rule of law, the impact of the October 25th, 2007 Supreme Court judgment in Amaechi v. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and two others.
He explained that the governors were not entirely opposed to the SWF because they appreciated the imperative of saving for the rainy day.
Amaechi described the Act establishing the SWF, which enables the Federal Government to deduct state revenue for the fund, as “an act that amounts to ‘kidnapping’ of states’ resources.”
Also, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State yesterday expressed his disapproval of the additional N1.2 trillion allegedly spent on fuel subsidy by the Federal government this year, which he said had exceeded the approved N240 billion in the budget.
Speaking with reporters at the Presidential Wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos, Fashola said that the additional N1.2 trillion should have been placed in the Federation Accounts where it could have constituted an asset to the 36 states and 774 local councils in the country.
“It has gone without lawful authorities to spend it, without consultation with the stakeholders that is the federation that we are dealing with,” he added.
The Governors Forum commended the decision of the state commissioners of finance and accountants-general, who rejected the N231.6 billion deducted from September allocations to the states at the last meeting of the Federation Accounts and Allocation Committee (FAAC).
Amaechi said: “Forum commended the decision of the States’ Commissioners of Finance and Accountant Generals for rejecting the illegal deduction of N231.6 billion at the October 2011 FAAC meeting, noting that the Lawful deductions for the year have been fully made.
Members noted that the total deductions for last year was N500.6 billion which was more than doubled to N1.264 trillion in the first nine (9) months of this year, suggesting erroneously that consumption has increased”.
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