By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
The Federal Government says it has augmented the allocation to Cross River State with the sum of NGN38Billion since the loss of its 76 oil wells to neighboring Akwa Ibom state after losing its littoral status due to the ceding of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroun.
The Chairman of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed stated this moments ago when he led a delegation of the commission on a courtesy call on Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade in his office in Calabar.
Ahaji Mohammed said the commission received a letter from the Attorney General of the federation directing it to augment the allocation of the state to aid the state construct an alternative revenue base.
“We wrote to the Cross River State Government to make a presentation to this effect. The state made a wonderful presentation in November 2012 and after that 38 Billion Naira was approved,” Mohammed said.
According to Mohammed NGN13Billion was released instantly and NGN500million was released monthly for a duration of 2 years.
He said that after the elapse of that duration, another batch of NGN500million was released monthly for 26 months which will elapse in May 2017 totaling NGN35billion. However, he said a total of NGN37.5billion has been disbursed so far as at February 2017.
He also disclosed that the state under Governor Ben Ayade has requested the commission to augment the allocation of the state with a permanent sum of NGN2billion every month and said the commission will carry out its due diligence survey and take its report back where it will be analyzed, ratified and subsequently approved.
Alhaji Mohammed however warned that the approval may not be the sum requested by the state Government.
But, Ayade in his remarks argued that the NGN38billion approved to augment the state’s allocation was too meager as spread over 11 years, the sum cannot pay the wage bill of the state for 5 months.
He posited that the state lost its oil wells at the height of the oil boom which led to its stoppage of the 13 percent derivation from oil proceeds with the state left as a member of the Niger Delta Development Commission only by virtue of its geographical location.
Ayade said the loss of the oil wells and the Bakassi peninsula was unquantifiable as even 3 trillion dollars will not be enough to assuage a people displaced from their home land.
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