Excess Crude Account Has Been Empty For 18 Months – Oshiomole

By Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State said on Wednesday that no money has been shared from the Excess Crude Account in the past 18 months as it had been empty.

Speaking while receiving traditional rulers from Edo South who paid him a visit at the Government House, Benin, Oshiomole said that no state had received any money from the Excess Crude Account in that period, leading to a distortion of development plans in the states.

He stated that the account presently had only about $3 billion in spite of the excess revenue from crude oil over the last three years.

The governor alleged that funds were being stolen from the national coffers and that the federal government had mismanaged nation’s resources as monies said to be deducted for subsidies for products like kerosene do not reflect in the market their price.

“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 sums of money are being stolen,” Oshiomole lamented.

“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,” he said further.

He also wondered what happened to the excess revenue from oil over the last three years, observing that while the federal budget had been based on a benchmark of between $77 and $ 79, the international price had been about $108.

“Whereas the budgets have been based on an average of between $77 to $78 and $79 a barrel, he 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 hat 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,’ he said.

Oshiomole lamented that with the falling price of crude and the reduction in revenue for the federal government, the poor masses would face tougher times in the coming year.

“I expect that the naira will hit over N200 per dollar. The inflationary consequence of that is prices of everything will go up and part of the vicious cycle of the devalued naira in the manner that is being done is that the price of petroleum products imported in dollars will go up in naira and government will be asking people who are already poor to pay more money for petroleum products. I see this vicious cycle setting in and people are likely to get poorer and that will lead to more tension and we already have our fair share of insecurity,” he stated.






     

     

    Governor Oshiomole also expressed worry over increasing incidence of oil theft, saying that state governors had been told by officials of the presidency that the country was “losing as much as 700,000 barrels a day and that has been on for the past twelve years” and wondered how “suddenly, Nigeria cannot protect its territorial waters because the boundaries have not changed..”

    He said that it was inexplicable that so much crude oil was being lost to theft even after the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta had been resolved and former militants even awarded contract to patrol the nation’s waters.

    .The governor predicted tough times for Nigerians in 2015 and asked the traditional rulers to pray for the country.

    Speaking for other royal fathers, the Ogiegbaen of Egbaen, commended governor Oshiomole for his administration’s achievements and pledged that the continuing support of the traditional institution for his government.

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