By Levinus Nwabughiogu – Abuja
A member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Farah Dagogo, has described as “mind-boggling” statement by the Federal Government that Nigeria’s excess crude account has depleted from $2.1 billion in 2015 to $60 million.
Dagogo who represents Degema/ Bonny said Nigerians never saw what such ‘humongous’ money was spent on, saying that the Niger Delta region where the revenue comes in from, were still underdeveloped.
It will be recalled that the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, gave the update on the account during the national economic council meeting at the State House in Abuja.
According to a statement by the spokesperson to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Laolu Akande, the Minister was quoted as saying: “Excess Crude Account (ECA) balance as at 13th October 2021 stands at $60, 857,773.43; Stabilisation Account, balance as at 13th October stands at N25,009,892,511.55; Development of Natural Resources Account balance as at 13th October 2021 stands at N56,144,024,000.71.”
In his reaction via a statement by his media aide, Ibrahim Lawal, Dagogo on Saturday, said the depletion of the funds without corresponding action on the ground was “unacceptable and abhorrent to people of good conscience”.
They said that cost of living in Nigeria was at an all-time high, submitting that Nigerians were in paradise in 2015 when the previous government under President Goodluck Jonathan was in power.
“Today in Nigeria, the cost of living has risen astronomically. We were in paradise in 2015 if we were to make a comparative analysis of what was applicable then and now as to what the majority of the masses are facing and passing through daily. To feed a day in Nigeria is akin to the dromedary camel passing through the eyes of a needle. Yet, we hear the mind-boggling depletion of our commonwealth with nothing tangible to show for it.
“For clarity, the purpose of the Excess Crude Account that was set up in 2004, which later metamorphosed to Sovereign Wealth Fund in 2011, has been clearly defeated. Has it three cardinal objectives of supporting the budget in times of economic stress, including to hedge against volatile crude oil prices; to save for future generations of Nigerians; to invest in domestic infrastructure; being met?
“The answer is a capital NO and unacceptable to the people of my region, who semantically speaking, are the goose that laid the golden eggs that are being pilfered unhindered. I strongly believe that this daylight stealing and mismanagement should be a grave concern and abhorrent to people of good conscience,” he said.