FG diverted N544bn resources fund to INEC, military — NEITI

The Federal Government diverted N543.63bn for Natural Resources Development to fund the Independent National Electoral Commission and budget deficit, the Nigeria Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative has said.

The diverted N543.63bn was also used to fund budget deficits, national security, and Nigeria Armed Forces, among others.

It was learnt on Tuesday that N543.63bn was released for various projects from the fund between 2012 and 2016 but a bulk of this amount was used to fund other sectors as opposed to the original purpose of establishing the fund.

Figures obtained from the latest Fiscal Allocation and Statutory Disbursement Audit 2012-2016 of the Nigeria Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative also showed that the N543.63bn disbursement from the natural resources fund outstripped inflows by 11 per cent.

The report stated, “The Natural Resources Development Account was established to develop alternative mineral resources. The total revenue received from 2012 to 2016 was N486.26bn.

“Out of this amount, the statutory allocation was N374.15bn from both mineral and non-mineral revenue.

“A review of disbursement showed that N543.63bn was released for various projects in the period, meaning disbursement outstripped inflows by 11 per cent.”

It added, “Contrary to the purpose of the fund, it served as a borrowing fund for the Federal Government to meet its obligations in areas such as budget deficits, national security, Independent National Electoral Commission, Nigeria Armed Forces, among others.”

NEITI also revealed that the revenue paid into the Ecological Fund were utilised for purposes other than which the fund was established.

The Ecological Fund is an intervention facility established to address serious ecological problems across the country.

NEITI said, “The utilisation of the fund does not match the purpose for which the fund was established.

“For instance, for the loan of N93, 768,951,164 released to the Federal Government for funding of budget deficits and advance to states and Local Governments to meet shortfalls in their revenue.”

The report stated that statutory allocation in the Ecological Fund between 2012 and 2016 was N276.5bn, while receipt from excess crude oil was N54bn.

The report further analysed the country’s Stabilisation Fund, adding that it served as a pool to grant loans to various non-related expenditures during the period under review.

This fund, according to the agency, served as a mechanism set up by government to insulate the economy from large influxes of revenue from commodities such as oil.

It is to also maintain steady level of government revenue in the face of major commodity price fluctuations.

A total sum of N238bn was received as revenue into the Fund from 2012 to 2016.

According to the report, most of the disbursements made from the fund were described as loans but most of the loans granted seem not to be recoverable.

For the country’s Excess Crude Account, which was created to warehouse the excess amount resulting from increases in crude oil prices, the report stated that total transfers to ECA within the period under review was N4.35tn.

It noted that the objective of the ECA was to use the proceeds as an augmentation tool if there was a shortfall in the revenue.

NEITI added that there was a legitimacy/constitutional issue as the Excess Crude Account had no constitutional backing.

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