NEC Explains how $254m from ECA was Spent, Says No Missing Money

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Governors of the 36 states of the federation have explained how $254m from the Excess Crude Account was spent between January and February 2020 while dismissing the reports that the ECA was depleted by the Federal Government. 

The governors who spoke through Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, after February National Economic Council meeting on Thursday said the operation of the Account is conducted with their knowledge and due approvals of the NEC. 

The NEC which comprises the 36 governors, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and the Governor of Central Bank is chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

Umahi explained that government, with the approval of the council invested USD$250 million in the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), adding that USD$4 million “being significantly reduced consultancy cost approved by the Council” was also withdrawn besides the USD$250 million NSIA investment.

A statement issued by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity (Office of the Vice President) quoted Umahi as saying “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 Government, State Governments and Local Governments all get their investment certificates, so we are together in this.”

The statement noted that other highlights of the meeting include reporting balances on the Excess Crude Account which stood at the sum of $71,813,941.84.

The council disclosed that the balance on the Stabilization Account stood at N34, 186, 655,761.82, while the balance on the Natural Resources Account stood at the sum of N101, 889,686,452.53. 

The clarification came on the heels of public concerns on how the ECA was depleted  to $71m from $325m between January and February 2020.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Enahire told the council that there are 103 confirmed cases of Lassa Fever while 13 deaths have been recorded from 18 states. 

He identified the 18 states as Ondo, Ebonyi, Edo, Bauchi, Plateau, Benue, Enugu, Gombe, Kaduna, Kastina, Kogi, Sokoto, Taraba, Delta, Rivers, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Lagos, adding that of the confirmed cases 72% are from Edo, Ondo and Ebonyi states.

In a presentation made to the Council, the Minister assured that “National Multi-Sectoral Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) has been activated while state Health EOCs are activated in affected states, adding “intensive sensitization of the public on safety measure needs to be carried out.”

“Ehanire also assured of the country’s readiness to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), saying multi-sectoral Coronavirus Preparedness Group has been established, 4 diagnostic testing facilities are ready at National Reference Laboratory in Abuja, LUTH in Lagos, Irrua in Edo State and Redeemer’s University in Osun State,” the statement added.