By Racheal Ishaya
Chairman, Commissioners of Finance Forum, Mr Mahmood Yunusa, on Thursday said the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has agreed to suspend meetings indefinitely until an effective revenue collection process is implemented.
Yunusa said this in Abuja after the monthly FAAC meeting ended in a stalemate for the third consecutive time in one month.
He said that the Committee was tired of battling with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over oil revenue collections.
The chairman said that the Committee had already taken the matter before President Muhammadu Buhari, adding “but in the short term, FAAC meetings have been suspended until a more effective collection method is established’’.
“What we are looking for is for the process to be strengthened, once the process is strengthened there is no need for this fight.
“It is about the system and the process and we are working on it. It is no longer a joking matter, it has gone to the highest level.
“Mr President is highly interested in this and he is taking his time to ensure that the right thing is done.
“Once the process is strengthened, the correct amount is supposed to go to the federal revenue account.
“Even if it is small, we cannot challenge NNPC, so we are also helping NNPC from undue pressure,’’ he said
Yunusa said that the decision to hold NNPC accountable came with a price, meaning some states may not be able to pay salaries.
He, however, expressed the hope that once the process was completed, it would serve as a permanent solution to the reoccurring issue of under-remittance by NNPC.
It will be recalled that a meeting was convened on June 27 and July 10 respectively, to share the revenue generated in the month of May, which both ended in a stalemate.
Over the past couple of years, FAAC have had disagreements with NNPC over remittances into the Federation Account.
The latest development is coming less than a year after the NNPC completed the refund of N450 billion to the federation account.
The NNPC had for 67 consecutive months, paid an additional N6.33 billion into the federation account to be shared to federal, states and local governments.
The payment, which started in Sept. 2011, was due to an audit, which showed that the NNPC had been under remitting revenue into the Federation Account.