The Ministry of Finance on Wednesday disclosed that the amount in the Excess Crude Account (ECA) has dropped from $2.319 billion to $631 million within three weeks.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Dutse while explaining the decline told journalists in Abuja that withdrawals were made by the Federal Government from the ECA to settle the last tranche of the Paris Club Refund.
According to him, when the FAAC committee meeting was held at November 25 to allocate revenue for that month, the balance in the ECA was put at $2.319 billion but on Wednesday, the balance had dropped to $631 million.
“The balance in the ECA is $631 million. The final payment for Paris club refund to states was made and the figure was deducted and that’s what account for the difference.”
When questioned over the legality of such deductions, Dutse replied that, “A decision was taken to make this refund and part of that decision is that the refund should be funded from the ECA. The Federal Executive Council, and the President approved the money.”
The Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris when accosted on his way out of the meeting to clarify the withdrawal said that due process was followed before the withdrawal was made.
“You can go and find out from the National Assembly if we got approval for it but due process was followed before the fund was released,” he said.
The excess Crude Account is a special account established to keep excess revenues from the prevailing crude oil price at the international market.
Withdrawal from the account is subject to the approval of the three tiers of government and the Executive Council of the Federation (FEC).