Akwa Ibom State Government has decried the non-payment of 13 percent derivation oil revenue due to it by the Federal Government.
Describing the non-payment of the fund by the federal government as unconstitutional, the state government lamented that the non-payment of the funds had affected adversely its development process.
A news report by Vanguard newspapers quoted the state’s Information and Strategy Ministry, Comrade Iniobong Ememobong, as confirming the ugly development, adding that already the governors of oil-producing states were exploring dialogue options to address the problem and expressed optimism that the payment to deserving states would be soon.
He said: “It is a huge blow to the development process. It is slowing down the development process critically and I am aware that the governors are pushing to make sure that it is brought back on board. Because that is the live wire of development in those coastal areas in the oil-bearing communities”, he said.
On the alleged mismanagement of the derivation funds by the state government, the commissioner debunked the allegation, saying that “in Akwa Ibom, we publish a yearly account and our yearly account is yet to be challenged. It is there on the website.
”So, the process of accountability has been entrenched. The governor is not only an Accountant but a Chartered Auditor as well. Embezzlement does not happen here”, he stressed.
It would be recalled that payment of the 13 percent derivation principle to oil-producing states stated during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime and there was no default on payment until 2016 and again this year.
Fiscal analysts believe the delay in paying the derivation fund to the deserving states may not be unconnected with the growing revenue generation hurdles the present government has been facing in recent times.
Recently, the 13% derivation fund has been a subject of controversy between the oil-producing communities and the various states’ government, with the affected communities seeking direct payment of the fund to them.