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The Presidency, in a document sighted on Sunday night, revealed that the country is in a financial mess, because former President, Goodluck Jonathan, left behind an empty treasury when he handed over power on May 29, 2015.
Recall, that President Muhammadu Buhari, had on assumption of office, declared that he met an empty treasury. His claim generated major controversy, with many doubting the authenticity of the claim.
In a letter titled: Re: Resources To Help Meet Critical End-Of-Administration Payments, dated May 22, 2015, to Jonathan, former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, sought for permission to borrow N33 billion from Stabilization Account and Natural Resources Account, to help make some minimal payments to big contractors, the MDGs, before the administration left office.
The document indicated that the amount was used to settle a N10 billion debt owed to Julius Berger Nigeria Ltd, on various contracts; N1.57 billion to settle entitlements of the outgoing Presidents and Vice President, spouses of deceased Presidents/Heads of States; and N5 billion for settlement of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs.
Other ‘critical payments’ were: N1.35 billion for 2015 on-shore and off-shore activities of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrimage Commission; and N250 million for the emergency provision of 75 million span bridged spur to Yenagoa-Kolo-Nembe-Brass road to Kakatar CE LTG.
The former President approved the request on May 25, 2015, and the Director of the Budget Office of the Federation, released the sum of N23 billion on May 27, 2015, according to the document.

The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, said special accounts are fund set aside for specific purpose, however, when the need arises, funds are borrowed subject to Mr. President’s approval, to be reimbursed from subsequent appropriation.
The document also showed massive withdrawal from the two special fund accounts from 2012 – 2015, the period of oil boom and high revenue collections. For instance, in November, 2013, the government withdrew N80.7 billion from the Development of Natural Resources Account, to meet some emergencies.
Also N32 billion was removed from the Stabilisation and Residual Account (SRA), for the funding of the 2013 4th Quarter Capital projects, and completion of the sum of N40 billion, for the 3rd quarter capital project.
Another N7 billion was removed on August, 2013 from the same account, to fund the emergency funding of intervention of critical projects of Electricity Generations Companies, under the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria, Transmission Company of Nigeria, and Distribution Companies for power improvement and sustenance.
On May 07, 2014, when the price of crude oil was about $113/barrel, the then government also removed N36.7 billion from the SRA, to consolidated Revenue Fund, although the letter approved by the President, stated that the amount will be refunded after the FAAC meeting of the month.
Other similar withdrawals include: the Presidential approval of N7 billion, on March 6, 2015, and N5.5 billion, on March 9, 2015, from the SRA to Consolidated Revenue, as loan to cover the shortfall of the mandatory payments, such as salaries, pensions, and gratuities, as well as statutory agencies.
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, in its latest report revealed that the total revenue flow to government were $58.07 and $55.5 billion in 2013 and 2014 respectively, a little below the $62.9 billion received in 2012.
It was argued that the three-year period, recorded highest revenue collections in the country’s history.

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