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“Government Officials Use Excess Crude Account, Other Special Funds Account To Steal Nigeria’s Money”

Ayo Balogun, Lagos – The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately abolish the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and other special accounts/funds.

ARG said this while presenting its Nigeria Democratic Governance Report in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, with the theme: “Curbing Political Instability and Extravagance,” held at the Renaissance Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos.

National Chairman of the ARG, Hon. Olawale Oshun said if the ECA and other accounts were not abolished, corruption would continue to thrive at the top level of government as these accounts were being used to embezzle money by government officials.

Oshun stated that since 2012, daily crude production had consistently fallen short of projection which was attributed to oil theft, saying it is claimed that as much as 400,000 barrels of crude oil is stolen daily as illegal bunkering is festering in the oil industry, despite contracts worth billions of naira awarded purportedly to protect oil installations.

“We only hope that the data portending that only about half of accruable amount was remitted into the ECA is not really true. If it is, we wonder what happens to the unremitted balance. We also ask why all revenues cannot be treated as total inputs into the Federation Account?

“The nebulous act of creating all these accounts will not work in Nigeria’s corruption-prone platforms. The opaque management of special accounts in Nigeria always create potentials for fraud, whether in the retired PTF, ECA, SWF, or SURE-P.

“Imagine what benefit could have accrued directly in electricity, health and education sector if all revenues kept in spurious special accounts and budget heads had gone into the Federation Account and used to fund developmental projects. For instance, the N6.2tn ($41.7bn) spent is far above the “conservative estimate” of $36bn needed to improve power generation capacity to 40,000MW,” he said.

According to Oshunm in Budget Implementation Reports (BIR), N1.055tn was recorded as subsidy payments for 2011, but that the Finance Minister told the Senate that N2.2tn was paid in 2011.

“Clearly, other than the Foreign Reserves, which may be built up to cover six months of importation index from the present three-month cover, Nigeria needs no other purported savings, be it SWF, ECA or any other opaque fund/account from which unmitigated looting of the country’s patrimony is presently taking place.

“If 70% of expenses from the ECA still end up in the Federation Account, why could it not be abinitio when fund is full and yet to be stolen from? On December 17, 2014, $1bn was reportedly missing from the ECA, only for the Finance Minister to explain the next day that the amount was used to pay petroleum products marketers. 21% of ECA was used for this subsidy payment and another 9.5% for a nebulous special intervention fund,” he lamented.


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