The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has said that the $1 billion said to be missing from the Excess Crude Account [ECA] was used by the Federal Government to settle debts to petroleum products marketers.
The minister stated this in Abuja on Wednesday while presenting the breakdown of the 2015 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly for approval .
The minister said the explanation was necessary to clear the air on allegations by the Chairman of the State Finance Commissioners Forum, Timothy Odaah, who said at the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting on Tuesday that the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were unaware of the whereabouts of the money.
According to Mr. Odaah, the states were shocked that no explanations had been given by relevant government officials regarding the $1billion difference between the balance of $4.11 billion in the ECA in October and $3.1billion presented at the end of the November meeting on Tuesday.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala did however not say why the Federal Government dipped its hand in the ECA without the knowledge or consent of the 36 states.