Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation, a non-governmental organisation in Nigeria has called on Federal Government, relevant authorities and policy makers to establish legal and policy frameworks for improved fiscal and revenue management in Nigeria using Excess Crude Oil Account as a typical case study.
The foundation has made this call in a Press Briefing and communiqué released at the Roundtable meeting themed “A Savings and Stabilization Mechanism for Nigeria” on Monday in Lagos which had Resource persons, financial experts, technocrats, Civil society Organisations and the media in attendance.
According to Amara Nwankpa, Coordinator, Oil Revenue Tracking Initiative, Yar’Adua Foundation while giving an introductory remarks at the Roundtable, “after several researches by our organisation on Nigeria’s Savings and Stabilization Fund Mechanisms, it has been revealed that Nigeria having gone through five cycles of oil booms accruing well over one trillion dollars in oil revenue had made no significant savings, nor translated these earnings to lasting and productive capital through human development, physical infrastructure and institution building”.
“At this juncture, it has become imperative that legal, workable policy options and advocacy frameworks be put in place for the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and other Stabilization Funds to be more effective and beneficial to the citizens” he said.
“ECA which ought to be a saving mechanism for critical infrastructural and human capital development as well as to build institutions has however been mismanaged and diverted for personal gains by the unscrupulous leadership due to ineffective accountability structure in the polity over the years” Nwankpa remarked.
Bode Longe, an Economic Analyst who gave insightful presentation at the Roundtable, while sharing the trajectory of Oil Revenue/Excess Crude Oil Account in Nigeria since 1970 till date revealed the volatility of the Nigeria’s Economy with a cursory look at the contributions of both Oil Sector and non-oil sector to the Nigeria’s GDP, with attendant effects on infrastructural and Human Capital development.
“These volatility in the statistics reveal that Nigeria as a country has not been saving for the raining day, which may spell doom for the Nigeria’s economy in the near future”.
“Already Oil is a depleted resource in Nigeria, Experts have predicted that by 2050 there may not be single barrel of crude oil in Nigeria, hence the need to save for the raining day, said Longe.
Also speaking at the Roundtable, Former Nigeria’s Minister of Education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili while giving her keynote address stated that Nigeria has suffered major developmental setbacks in the past due to several predatory elites and class who have decided to keep milking the countries resources dry – channeling these resources for their personal uses and gains due to lack of efficient transparency and accountability structures in place.
Ezekwesili added that most of these developmental setbacks happened in the 80s and 90s which unfortunately were the decades of oil boom in Nigeria. She referred to these decades as “Wasted Decades” in Nigeria.
“Fiscal and Monetary policies are to be coordinated efficiently using global best practices such as transparency and accountability structure and culture in order to effectively curb corrupt practices across board” she stated.