Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Governor, Akwa Ibom state. Credit: MoI&S

By Abasifreke Effiong, Uyo.

Akwa Ibom state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, says he has not received N171.2 billion, part of arrears of 13 percent derivation refund as was widely reported in November last year.

Responding to a question during the 10th series of a live programme called the “Governor Speaks” coordinated by the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr. Emmanuel said the last time the received refunds from the federal government was in 2018.

The Governor said the public might have misconstrued the judgment given by the Court on the 13 percent derivation arrears in favour of Akwa Ibom and other oil producing States to mean actual refund.

“I don’t know if people are counting the court judgment on the 13 percent derivation arrears which has not yet been implemented. Even then, people need to ask how much we were earning as 13 percent derivation as of then. When the issue was brought to the Federal Executive Council, they said they will pay it in five years”, Emmanuel said during the interaction which was streamed on Facebook.

In the 2021 state budget performance report, the sum of N171.2 billion was posted under one of the revenue sub-heads received by the state in the third quarter (Q3) of that year. That left a lot to speculation because the judgment on the arrears of the 13 percent refund came in the preceding quarter (Q2).

The government did not deny the report as of that time even though it was widely discussed by the media and citizens of the state.

Policy Alert, a non-governmental organisation working on fiscal governance and environmental justice in the Niger Delta had said failure by the state government to brief her citizens on the true state of the expected refund left a huge gap on transparency.

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The organisation in a statement issued in November 2021 read: “We are delighted that the Federal Government has obliged to the refund ruling. This development explains why the State government recently reviewed their expected revenue on exceptional income: 13% derivation revenue arrears from N61.1 billion to N193 billion which is a 315.9 percent increase. However, Akwa Ibom people were not informed about this development during the presentation of supplementary budget…”

“This leaves a huge gap on transparency. We were disappointed that the Governor’s 2022 budget speech was silent on this development when he reviewed the performance of the 2021 budget, especially given that N137.9 billion Refunds from the Federation Account was proposed as capital receipts”.

In June 2021, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ordered the Federal Government to pay over $3.3 billion to Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, as share of recalculated oil derivation revenue in line with Section 16(1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Act which obligates the federal government to adjust the share of the Federation in the additional revenue if the price of crude oil at any time exceeds $20 per barrel.

Policy Alert had reported that $2.258 billion (926.9 billion at the exchange rate of N410.5/$US) is Akwa Ibom State’s share of the $62 billion the Federal Government recovered from some oil companies.