Reps query Fed Govt over withdrawals from Stabilisation Account
By Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi
The House of Representatives has expressed concern over withdrawals from the Stabilisation Account by the Federal Government.
Describing the withdrawals as illegal, the lawmakers questioned specifically, the withdrawal of N114billion from the account in eight months and are set to investigate it.
Revenue sharing laws provide for the remittance of 0.5 per cent of funds accruing to the Federation Account to be kept in the Stabilisation Account.
According to the sponsor of the motion titled, “Indiscriminate withdrawals from the Stabilisation Account by the Federal Government”, Haruna Fatahi, (ANPP, Kano), the Stabilisation Account is meant to fund deficits in the budget when oil price is below the benchmark price.
Fatahi, who expressed dismay about the handling of the account by the executive arm, said: “This account, being a buffer zone against oil price shock, spending from it should be guided by caution and great circumstance in order to maintain a sound fiscal policy.”
The lawmaker said it was worrisome that within eight months, about N114billion was spent from the account by the Federal Government for some expenditures, most of which should ordinarily be budgeted for.
He said if not checked, the essence of the Stabilisation Account might be defeated.
“It is worrisome that most of these indiscriminate withdrawals are gradually converting the Stabilisation Account into a mere slush fund, instead of its original mandate,” he added.
The house consequently mandated its committees on appropriation and finance to investigate the issue and determine the amount of monies so far withdrawn, in addition to ascertaining the legality or otherwise of the expenditure made from the account.