The National Executive Council (NEC) meeting Thursday saw state governors give the rationale behind the fall in the balance of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) by 78.2% or N92.964 billion in two months.
The ECA balance had plummeted from $325 million to $71 dollars between January and February this year according to the statistics provided by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
Created in 2004 by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, the ECA was originally intended for saving the excess amount above the budgeted benchmark price of oil.
David Umahi, the Ebonyi State Governor, speaking on behalf of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) said “the change in the balance of the ECA from $325 million last January to the current $71 million is mainly due to the new $250 million investment in the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), approved by the Council.”
“The Authority is doing very well. They are handling infrastructure so nicely that the governors and the federal government are investing well. When the investment was made, both the federal, state and local governments all got their investment certificates. So, we are together in this.”
Umahi went further to say that the balance of $4 million was approved by the NEC as a consultancy fee.
Past regimes had committed funds from the ECA to subsidy payment and payment to the three tiers of government to counterbalance dearth in revenue.
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) report had in April 2019 ranked Nigeria as the second worst country in the world in the use of sovereign wealth funds.