Promoting Good Governance.

FACT CHECK: President Buhari’s fancy lies on past oil prices

MUHAMMADU Buhari, Nigeria’s President, loves to repeat a claim about oil prices averaging $100 from 1999 to 2014. This claim has been fact-checked and debunked but Buhari cannot stop his obsession with this disinformation.

On Tuesday when he received members of the Buhari Support Organisations (BSO) led by Hameed Ali, the Comptroller-General of Customs, at the Presidential Villa, Buhari repeated the claim and challenged everyone to verify it.

‘‘I challenge anybody to check from Europe, America and Asia; between 1999-2014, Nigeria was producing 2.1 million barrels of crude oil per day at an average cost of 100 USD per barrel and it went up to 143 USD. When we came, it collapsed to 37 – 38 USD and later was oscillating between 40 and 50 USD,” Buhari said.

In his 2017 Independence Day speech, Buhari said: “we should remind ourselves of the recent journey from 1999-2015 when our country happily returned to democratic rule. However, in spite of oil prices being an average of $100 per barrel and about 2.1 million barrels a day, that great piece of luck was squandered and the country’s social and physical infrastructure neglected.”

In November 2016 at the presentation of report on poverty reduction by Course 38 of National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, Plateau State in the Presidential Villa, Buhari made the same claim.

He said then: “gentlemen, I have to digress now. For 16 years and eight consecutive governments of the other party, you know that there was unprecedented revenue realized. The oil projection which can be verified was 2.1 million barrels per day. 1999-2015, the average cost of each Nigerian barrel of oil was $100 per barrel. When we came it fell to less than $30 per barrel and is now oscillating between 40 and 50.”

In July 2015 when Buhari received Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact group led by King Alfred Diete-Spiff, he made the same misleading statement.

“He then talked about the impact of the collapse of the oil prices, which averaged about 100 US Dollars from 1999 to 2015, saying that its fall to about 30 Dollars a barrel some weeks ago was shocking. ‘I would have been in coma if not for the fact that I was in Oil (sector as a past minister) for three years,’” Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity wrote.

WIDE GAP BETWEEN $100 AND $61

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) which Nigeria is a member keeps a record of oil prices.  In its Basket Price, OPEC publishes the weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly averages of oil prices based on daily quotations.

Based on OPEC data, the average crude oil price from 1999 to 2015 was $61 a barrel. The only time in history when average crude oil price reached $100 was in 2011 ($107), 2012 ($109.45) and 2013 ($105.87).

The highest price ever paid for crude oil was between June and July 2008 when a barrel of crude oil was sold around $130 to $147, although the average crude oil price in 2008 ended up being $94.45 per barrel.

In 1999 when the military handed over power to Olusegun Obasanjo, the average crude oil price was $16.56 per barrel. In 2003 when he was re-elected for a second term, average crude oil price rose to $28.05 per barrel and $69.08 per barrel in 2007. The average crude oil price during Obasanjo’s tenure from 1999 to 2007 was $37.18.

By 2008, during Musa Yar’Adua’s tenure, a barrel of average crude oil was $94.45 and later fell to $77. 45 when he died in 2010. During Yar’Adua’s tenure from 2007 to 2010, the average crude oil price was $75.51 per barrel.

Average crude oil price per barrel rose to $107 in 2011 and an all-time high of $109.45 in 2012 as well as $105.87 in 2013.  It fell to $96.29 in 2014 and a very record low of $49.49 in 2015. From 2010 to 2015 during Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure, the average crude oil price per barrel was $91.

CONCLUSION: The average price of crude oil per barrel from 1999 to 2015 was $61, not $100 as Buhari has repeatedly claimed since he became president.

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