The Commissioner for Finance in Niger State, Kpako Bello, on Thursday expressed fears that should the factors that affected the cash flow into the Federation Account last year persists, it will be difficult for the state to meet its obligations.
The commissioner, at a press briefing on the state’s 2014 Appropriation Bill, said anything thing that affects income at the federal level would negatively affect the states due to over-dependence on oil revenue.
He said, “In December 2013, we gathered for FAC Meeting and nobody was there to answer us because there was no money and we had to wait for five days before the meeting held. This kind of problem resulted in many states, including us, not being able to pay salaries for five months.
“The truth is we are afraid that if this trend continues this year, many states, including us in Niger, may find it hard to pay salaries”.
The commissioner blamed the decline in federal revenue to oil theft at source; theft at point of sale, as well as after sales of the oil.
He added, “We have several reasons to believe what the Governor of Central Bank, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi, said that $49.8bn is ‘unaccounted for’, but it’s just that we have no boldness to come out and support him that huge figures even more than what he said are missing”.