Excess crude funds not shared in 18 months, says Oshiomhole

SUN Newspaper

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has said that the in­ability of the Federal Gov­ernment to share excess crude account in the last 18 months has distorted the developmental plans of the state governments.

Speaking during a visit of the Association of Eni­gies from Edo South to him yesterday, Oshiomhole said: “Over the past 18 months, we have not shared the excess crude account and yet, the account is empty. Sometimes we are told they have taken money from it to fund sub­sidies including subsidy on kerosene but your royal high­nesses, there is nowhere in your various domains where kerosene is sold for N50. So, in the name of subsidy, large sum of money is being stolen.

“Things are tough now around the country because the Federal Government mismanaged our national resources and what is being stolen, nobody agrees it is being stolen. What is argu­able is who is responsible for this stealing? When the Federal Government and the president talk about oil theft and the amount that is alleg­edly stolen is huge such that whereas we have the capacity to produce about 2.4 million barrels a day, what accrues into the Federal Government account is less than 1.8 mil­lion barrel a day.

“From the last time we had a meeting, the handouts they distributed showed that sometime for a period of two weeks, we were losing as much as 700,000 barrels a day and that has been on for the past 12 years. I am not able to understand why, sud­denly, Nigeria cannot protect its territorial waters because the boundaries have not changed and the people are still the same and at the peak of the so-called militancy, we were still exporting about two million barrels a day.

“Then how can we explain that after we have resolved the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta, we have reha­bilitated the ex-militants and even awarded contracts to them, that we are losing as much crude oil as that to oil thieves and to the best of my knowledge, there is no major known person who has been prosecuted and convicted for oil theft in a way that reflects the magnitude of what is al­legedly stolen.

“What this means is that our budgets have not per­formed over the past three years, whereas the budgets have been based on an aver­age of between $77 to $78 and $79 a barrel. The average price of Nigeria’s sweet crude has been around $108 per barrel. That gives a surplus of over $30.

Ideally, we ought to be saving $36 per barrel and 2.3 million barrel a day over the past three years and if you look at these numbers you will find that what we have in our excess crude oil account should be over $30billion but as we speak, we have barely $3 billon in our excess crude account.

“Now, oil price has dropped to $60 and because we have not saved, the naira is undergoing devaluation. Already, as low as N180 per dollar and I believe by Feb­ruary when the elections are over, nobody is going to want to hold the naira. Wherever the election goes, I expect that the naira will hit over N200 per dollar.”


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