The Edo state government has said it has received just N2.1 billion of the N28 billion that was accumulated in the state as 13 percent oil diversion fund for oil-producing states.
Edo State Finance and Budget Commissioner Joseph Eboigbe revealed this while briefing reporters after the weekly Executive Council meeting chaired by Governor Godwin Obaseki, at Government House in Benin City.
Edo state government disclosure comes days later Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State revealed that oil-producing states have received billions of naira from President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as refunds for the 13 percent deduction of oil diversion funds.
Edo finance commissioner Mr Eboigbe said N1 trillion was set for oil-producing states and the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission adopted a distribution methodology, adding that Edo would accumulate N28 billion and it would be paid in five years in 20 tranches.
He said: “The net amount will hit each state over five years in 20 tranches. Each year, you will have quarterly shipments, which is four shipments each year for more than five years. Due to some court cases from some states, the releases started this year, October 2022.
“The Edo state government got three tranches of N700 million per quarter, which is equivalent to N2.1 billion of the N28 billion. It is verifiable.
“We expect 20 quarterly tranches over five years, but so far, we’ve only gotten three out of 20 and it’s verifiable. We have the records of how the money is spent.”
Noting that the government spends between N2 billion and N3 billion per month for capital expenditure in the state, Mr. Eboigbe said: “Only in Governor Obaseki’s administration will you find capital expenditure always greater than recurrent expenditure. Development occurs when capital spending is greater than recurring spending. Last year, the state nearly closed on a 90 percent capex budget update.”
Describing the Obaseki-led administration as transparent and accountable, the commissioner added: “Governor Obaseki received an award for his transparency in the use of resources. The World Bank studied every state in Nigeria over the past four years and found the governor to be commendable for his fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability programs. Only Edo State received an award from the World Bank for spending efficiency.”
In addition, the Governor’s Special Adviser on the Media Bill, Crusoe Osagie, said the comments about the 13 percent oil diversion were aimed at creating unnecessary tension in the country amid election campaigns.
He noted: “Our annual budget is about N250 billion to N300 billion. What percentage of N250 billion is N2.1 billion? It is even less than one percent. It’s not a fantastic amount that has come into the state as some politicians are trying to play politics with it. The Edo State government is transparent with its resources.”