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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

We Only Received N14.7bn as 13% Derivation Refunds, Says Delta Govt

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Delta State Government yesterday debunked media reports credited to Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike that it had collected refunds from the federal government without disclosing it to citizens, saying it only received N14.7 billion.

Wike had during the inauguration of the Port Harcourt Campus of the Nigerian Law School last Friday, said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved and paid the arrears of 13 per cent derivation to Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Akwa Ibom states.

The governor said President Buhari’s gesture was the major source of revenue for his projects, including the flyovers, the law school and the cancer centre.

He had said: “Monies that were not paid to the Niger Delta states since 1999, mainly 13 per cent deductions, the president approved and paid all of us in Niger Delta states.”

But the Delta State Commissioner for Finance, Chief Fidelis Tilije, said contrary to the revelation by Wike, Delta State only received N14.7 billion in three quarterly installments of N4.9 billion each.

Speaking at a news conference in Asaba, Tilije said the state government had remained committed to transparency and accountability in all its financial dealings on behalf of the people.

Tilije, who was in company of the Commissioner for Special Projects, Chief Henry Sakpra and the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, said the total amount due to the state from the 13 per cent derivation arrears was N240 billion out of which the federal government agreed to pay in quarterly installment for a period of five years.

Tilije also denied claims by former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, that the state government received over N60 billion on refunds for federal roads projects executed by the state.

He said: “With the agreed amounts settled, some states like Rivers approached commercial banks and discounted theirs in full and collected, but Senator Ifeanyi Okowa said he would not want to leave the next administration with a huge debt burden.

“He resorted to discounting only N150 billion out of the N240 billion expected receivables, but later pruned it down to N100 billion.

“So far, we have gotten N14.7 billion in three quarterly installments and we have also accessed N30 billion out of the N100 billion we applied for as bridging finance,” he explained.

The commissioner stated that contrary to the impression given by Wike that previous administrations in the country refused to pay the money to the oil-producing states, the discovery of the outstanding funds was made by current commissioners for finance in the Niger Delta states.

“The present Commissioners for Finance of the nine Niger Delta states looked into the books of the NNPC and discovered that 13 per cent derivation was not deducted from subsidy payments and investments in priority projects by the company.

“We took the matter before the FAAC and National Economic Council and got them to approve the payment in arrears to the affected oil-producing states.

“It is important to state that this was only discovered under the Buhari administration, which he subsequently approved. It is not that previous PDP administrations refused to pay. It was never discovered then neither was it brought to their notice,” he said.

Tilije also denied claims by former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, that the state government received over N60 billion on refunds for federal roads projects executed by the state.

In related development, Okowa yesterday said the people of the state were too enlightened and exposed to fall for the cheap lies and propaganda being deployed by the Governorship Candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.

Speaking at a news conference in Asaba, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, said rather than avail Deltans with his manifesto, Omo-Agege has been engaging in lies to deceive Deltans.

He warned that the people were very discerning and would not fall for the calumny against the governor and the State Government.

He said Okowa never betrayed Southern Nigeria in becoming the vice-presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Omo-Agege was maliciously peddling.

According to him, after the emergence of the presidential candidate of the party from the north, it was automatic that his running mate would come from the south, and for this, Okowa was found worthy to be selected having met the criteria set by the Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

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