Mr. Ahmed Idris, Accountant-General of the Federation, Nigeria

How ECA fund dropped to $71.8m in 2020 ─Accountant-General

* Discloses $4million professional fee paid to ‘unknown lawyer’

* No money yet released for Capital Projects in 2020

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Nigeria’s Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris, has explained how the $325 million in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) of the Federal Government was depleted to $71.8 million as of March 2, 2020.

Reports say Mr. Idris disclosed this Tuesday while speaking at an interactive session with members of the Senate Committee on Finance, in Abuja, FCT.

He said the balance in the ECA stood at $325 million as of end of 2019.

The Accountant-General of the Federation clarified that the National Economic Council (NEC) agreed to invest $250million in Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), and that $4million was paid as professional fee to “an unknown lawyer”.

However, his failure to provide the identity of the lawyer angered the panel.

Senator Adeola Olamilekan, Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, subsequently asked the AGF to furnish them with the details of the said lawyer.

The AGF, in his response, promised to provide them the details of the lawyer soon.

It was learnt that the summary analysis of the Excess Crude Account showed that in 2015, the total inflow into the dedicated account was $2.35 billion while outflow was $93.6 million.

The inflow increased to $3.68 billion in 2016 and the outflow was $1.06 billion.

In 2017, the inflow into excess crude account reduced to $3.38 billion and the outflow was $931.5 million.

The inflow jumped to $3.5 billion in 2018, while outflow was $2.8 billion.

In 2019, the inflow dropped to $1.01billion and the outflow $685 million.

According to Idris, the inflows into the Excess Crude Account have been fluctuating due to the positive and negative variances in the price of crude oil.

“The transfer into the account has witnessed downward trend in view of the low oil prices, particularly from year 2015 to date.

“The highest excess inflow of the sum of $17.344 billion was recorded in 2008, while the lowest excess inflow of the sum of $0.276 million was recorded in 2015.

“The weighted average price in 2008 and 2015 was $103.67 and $39.04 respectively. The balance in the ECA as of 2nd March, 2020 is $71.8 million,” the AGF stated.

The Accountant-General also told the lawmakers that the Federal Government is yet to release single kobo for the Capital Projects in 2020.

ConsumerConnect recalls that the Federal Government, in Federal Budget 2020 signed by President Buhari, had proposed N2.465 trillion for capital expenditure.

He, however, said that N493 billion has been released for personnel cost; N59.77 billion released for consolidated pension; N46.6 billion for overhead cost while only N20.76 billion for capital supplementation.

According to him, Personnel Cost ─N493 billion (16.5%); Consolidated Pension – N59.77billion; Overheads – N46.65 (9.5%); and Capital Supplementation – N20.76billion.

Nevertheless, when the Committee on Finance probed further, Idris said that N340 billion would be released on first quarter which will be the first tranche for Capital Projects in 2020.

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