Says Nigeria can’t account for $100bn crude oil sales
From Fred Itua, Abuja
Fresh revelations emerged yesterday that Nigeria during Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and Jonathan administrations blew over N70 trillion they earned from the sales of crude oil and gas between 1999 and 2014.
This disclosure was made against the backdrop that Nigeria in the last eight years had lost over $200 billion it could have earned from the exportation and sales of mineral deposits.
Making the revelations, the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mr. Waziri Adio, told the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs during an oversight visit to his office that, unless Nigeria develops a prudent way of spending, the country may be in for rough times in the coming years.
He said it was unfortunate and unthinkable that despite the huge earnings recorded from the sales of crude oil over the years, Nigeria is unable to account for at least $100 billion in the excess crude account.
Mr. Adio called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to develop a saving mechanism that would accommodate drastic slash on government spendings to the barest minimum, if his administration must succeed.
He said: “Let me inform the committee that we discovered that between 1999 and 2014, the country spent over N70 trillion it received from oil and gas alone. That is a whole lot of money. And what is sad is that it was spent without the country being able to show for it. I think it is quite unfortunate.
“For the sake of emphasis, however, I think if previous administrations had developed a culture for prudent management of resources, Nigeria ought to have over $100 billion saved in the excess crude account. So, going forward, it is necessary for government to think about saving a lot more, and do all it can as well to cut down on wasteful spending if the nation must make progress.”
Lamenting the challenges confronting the agency, Mr. Adio told the Senate committee that Nigeria risks suspension from the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), if the agency fails to complete its audit report by December 2016 deadlines.
The Executive Secretary, who also decried the unavailability of funds, owing to late releases by the Ministry of Finance, told the committee that the same thing was responsible for the inability of the agency to conclude work on its audit report to the world body, EITI.
He said should Nigeria be suspended from the world body as a result of the agency’s failure to meet the December deadline for the submission of its audit report, such development would be an embarrassment on the image and reputation of the nation before the international community.