National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has approved N40 billion for 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which did not benefit from the Ecological Funds during the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan.
The Council disclosed that the Jonathan-led administration, in 2013, paid N32 billion to 16 states governed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and two non-PDP states that were friendly to the administration.
To right the wrong and bring all the states to a level playing field, the other 19 states and the FCT that were exempted will get N2 billion each as payment from the ecological funds.
The Council also approved the extension of the budget support to states, which commenced last year May and meant to end by this month end.
The N2 billion payment was recommended by the committee set up by the NEC at its last meeting to investigate the dwindling ecological funds. The committee disclosed that the same amount was released to the other states in the last dispensation.
Briefing State House Correspondents at the post-NEC meeting, which lasted for about four hours, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, alongside his Imo and Bauchi counterparts, Rochas Okorocha and Mohammed Abubakar, respectively, said NEC, after a briefing by the Accountant General of the Federation at its last meeting, resolved to audit the ecological fund and set up an ad hoc committee to carry out the mandate.
‘Reports showed that between 2007 and 2015, the ecological fund got an average of N48 billion yearly. A total of N432.5 billion accrued to the fund within the nine years,” he said. Giving details of the interim report presented to NEC by the 11-man committee on ecological fund which he chairs, El- Rufai said the ecological fund currently stands at N33.6 billion, which is only 65 per cent of the federal government’s share.
According to the Kaduna governor, Jonathan’s administration handed out the said amount to States whose governors were close to the president, without formal requests. He said the 19 states that did not benefit include Adamawa,
Akwa-lbom, Borno, Edo, Ekiti, lmo, Jigawa, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe, Zamfara, and FCT.
El-Rufai further said the committee informed the Council that the revised sharing formula of the ecological funds as modified was as follows: Federal Government, one percent; States, 0.72 percent and Local Government Areas (LGAs) 0.60 percent.
He also said all states and local government areas had got their shares of the ecological fund, and the only thing left was the federal government’s share of one percent (which now stands at N33.6 billion). He added that National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Great Green Wall are statutorily entitled to 20 percent and 15 percent respectively.