CLO backs A’Ibom on controversial 13% derivation as Edo defends use of funds
Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in Akwa Ibom State has absolved the state government of any wrongdoing in the handling of its share of 13 per cent derivation arrears paid to oil-producing states since 2021.
CLO Chairman, Mr. Franklin Isong, told a press conference in Uyo that the tension being generated by the issue was uncalled for as the state government had already captured expected arrears in successive budgets since 2021.
Recall that Akwa Ibom State Government, through its state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Linus Akan, had urged the public to ignore various figures bandied around on various media platforms, as those were not correct.
Akan had said: “There is, therefore, no reasonable cause for the activation of alarmist tendencies on the state of finances of the state, because the governor is conscious of the judgment of history and posterity and is doing everything to earn a copious mention on its golden pages.”
The CLO Chairman advised politicians in the state to excise restraint and not allow their political ambitions to becloud their reasoning and create unease and tension in the state.”
He added: “CLO notes that the 13 per cent Derivation Fund arrears refunded to the State by the Federal Government was captured in the 2022 Appropriation Law of Akwa Ibom State and in the 2022 approved revised Appropriation Law of Akwa Ibom State.
“CLO can confirm that the 13 per cent Derivation Fund arrears refunded to the state by the Federal Government is reflected in the 2023 Appropriation Bill of Akwa Ibom State currently under consideration by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.”
He said the organisation has firsthand information on projects executed and facilitated by the administration with more than 50 road projects inspected and found to be either completed or at various stages of completion, while enormous gains have also been made in the area of industrialisation, aviation, environment, power, health, agriculture and education.
SIMILARLY, Special Adviser to Edo State Governor on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie, has defended the utilization of the fund, saying Governor Godwin Obaseki administration runs a prudent, accountable and transparent government in the history of the state since 1999.
He made the remark while clarifying issues bothering on the data recently released by the Federal Government, which according to him has further validated the figures published by the Edo State Commissioner for Finance, Budget, Economic Planning and Development., Mr. Joseph Eboigbe, which had stated Edo only received N2.1 billion from the N28bn that accrued to the state as 13 per cent oil derivation refund.
In a statement, Osagie noted that the amount mentioned in the report by the presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, to have been received by the state totalled about N21.7 billion for a period of two years, adding that this is less than five per cent of Edo State’s annual budget for the two-year period during which the funds were said to have been released in several tranches.
Osagie said: “We have reviewed the recent report released by Federal Government and we are glad that they have given credence to the figures earlier published by the Edo State Commissioner for Finance that Edo only received about N2bn from the N28bn that accrued to the state as 13 per cent oil derivation refund.
“However, the Federal Government has now also come up with other amounts that have been paid to states. From all the data supplied by the presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, assuming all the figures are correct, as we are still confirming the receipts from our accountants in the state, it means that Edo received a total of about N21.7 billion from 2021 to 2022, which is essentially straddled between two budget circles.
“If the amount that is said to be given to Edo State as 13 per cent derivation and other repayments is about N21.7bn, this means that the sum is still less than five per cent of the state’s budget for the period (2021 to 2022) and is, therefore, not an exceptional earning for the state. Hence, we think it is a storm in a teacup in the case of Edo State.”