ActionAid Nigeria, BudgIT, the Centre for Social Justice, and Christian Aid are among the civil society groups that have asked the Federal Government to stop the theft of crude oil in the Niger Delta region. This would save the country a lot of money that could be used for other things.
Ahead of the upcoming general elections in 2023, the organizations asked Nigerians to abandon all forms of emotion and instead elect qualified leaders who will efficiently govern the country’s public offices.
They said that 400,000 barrels of crude oil are lost every day, which is equal to $1.2 billion per month and $14.4 billion (N6.272 trillion) per year. If this amount is added to the books of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, it will increase the company’s profit and the dividends it pays to the government.
They also urged the authorities to ensure that the accountant-general of the federation converts the monthly remittance of interim operating surplus and cumulative remittances after the conclusion of the fiscal year into a monthly deduction.
The CSOs made the request yesterday while submitting their views on the federal government’s 2023–2025 Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper.
Mr. Eze Onyekpere, the group’s leader, stated that the FG need not wait for its enterprises to remit, but that the platform should be designed to permit automated deduction, thereby ensuring that the amounts owed to the FG are never available for government-owned enterprise expenditure.
They urged President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) to consider removing the NNPCL leadership, under whose watch crude oil theft has escalated. The CSOs anticipate that the government will establish explicit theft reduction targets for the NNPC and security agencies.
ActionAid’s country director, Ene Obi, said, “The government should do a full audit of consumption to make sure that the estimated daily use of PMS is not too high. They should also cut the current fuel subsidy by 50% and save at least N3.36 trillion by 2023.”
She said it was a shame that Nigeria’s current political leaders don’t use state money to help all Nigerians.
“Think about the kind of people who hold our public jobs, especially those that have been turned over to the private sector,” she said.
The group highlighted that cutting Nigeria’s proposed tax expenditure by 90% would free up at least N4 trillion in revenue, while requiring all GOEs to use a Treasury Single Account would enhance the government’s independent revenue by at least N1 trillion.
Oyekpere, one of the group’s leaders, stated, “Set a debt ceiling according to Section 41 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.” This limit should be determined based on the ratio of debt to revenue.
“Redefine the goal of taking on debt as projects that support value chain development, improve the macroeconomic framework, build infrastructure, and build strategic human capital”