Sources in several state governments as well as the Federal Ministry of Finance have disclosed to SaharaReporters that Nigeria’s cash flow woes appear to be worsening. For the second month in a row, the Nigerian government was unable to meet the schedule for disbursing monthly allocations from the federation account to states.
Our sources accused President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration of depleting the country’s foreign reserves and recklessly overspending budgeted funds.
One source revealed that the Federal Ministry of Finance has paid March monthly allocations only to some states. The allocations for April and May 2012 remain unpaid. As a result of what some of the sources described as a major cash flow crisis, many civil servants and National Youth Corps members have yet to receive their April salaries or allowances.
In addition, the meeting of the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has been postponed indefinitely after the secretariat said the earlier meeting scheduled for today and tomorrow was no longer feasible. SaharaReporters obtained a text message announcing the cancellation of the meeting. Sent by Philip K. Angulu, the terse message apologized to recipients for any inconveniences caused by the postponement.
SaharaReporters learnt that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has not been able to make regular payments to the federation accounts as oil marketers and corporation are now deducting their share of profit in offshore accounts to avoid dealing with local bureaucratic bottlenecks.
A source within the Presidency described Mr. Jonathan as a confused pawn in the hands of members of his security team who manipulate him to approve huge “security votes” for the so-called fight against terrorism. “Many of the president’s security advisers just keep deceiving him into releasing more and more cash to them – and they have nothing to show for it,” said the source.
Another source in the Central Bank told SaharaReporters that fuel marketers continue to defraud Nigerians with undocumented and fraudulent claims. “As we speak, I can tell you that the government has virtually spent this year’s budget for fuel subsidies – and we are only in the middle of May,” said the source. He added, “Nigerians are calling on President Jonathan to prosecute those who committed fraud in collecting fuel subsidies in the past. They don’t know that the fraud has actually increased this year.”
One of our sources accused Christopher Kolade, the chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment (SURE) Committee, of deliberately misleading Nigerians when he claimed that N60 billion has been saved for the implementation of the phantom palliative program put in place by Mr. Jonathan’s government to pacify Nigerians who thronged the streets of Nigerian and foreign cities in January to protest the removal of fuel subsidy. “Dr. Kolade knows that no such fund exists,” said the source, a ranking official in the federal government.