Monday, August 8, 2022

Excess crude account now $376,655 from $2.1 billion handed over to Buhari’s regime

Since assuming office in 2015 and then going ahead to win reelection in 2019, the Buhari-led regime has involved in heavy borrowing and depleting of the country’s scarce resources.

• July 27, 2022
Poor Nigerians and Muhammadu Buhari
Poor Nigerians and Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) has been drastically depleted under the Muhammadu Buhari regime, falling from over $2 billion left by former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 to $376,655.

The Buhari regime disclosed this in a communiqué released following the FAAC meeting for July 2022, held in Abuja on Tuesday, but did not provide an explanation for the sharp decrease in the ECA funds.

The ECA fell as federal, state, and local government allocations increased by N121.624 billion in June, while FAAC shared a total of N802.407 billion.

The ECA is meant to be a savings cushion that stabilises government revenue and acts as a lifeline for the economy in difficult times.

According to the communique, total deductions for cost of collection was N44.606 billion and deductions for transfers, savings, refunds and 13 per cent derivation to Anambra State was a total sum of N373.200.

The ECA balance which stood at $60 million in October 2021, and fell to $35.8 million in January, has nosedived further to $376,655, plunging the nation’s economy into regress.

The ECA’s pitiful status has fueled further criticism of Mr Buhari’s inability to manage the nation’s resources wisely. His regime has been marked by heavy borrowing, looting, insecurity, inflation, a significant increase in food prices, and general unrest across the country. 

The ECA was created in 2004 by former president Olusegun Obasanjo to track the country’s excess revenue from crude oil. The account balance in February 2014, just before Mr Buhari took office, was $3.6 billion, one of the highest balances ever.

The Economist in 2021 described Buhari as an inept leader whose fiscal policies had regressed the nation’s economy and whose fight against terrorism ends on the lips.

In addition to depleting ECA, the Buhari regime has become notorious for borrowing heavily from countries like China, France, Japan, India and Germany. As at June 2021, Nigeria was owing these five countries a staggering $4.26 billion.

In October 2021, finance minister Zainab Ahmed, expressed her discomfort that the nation had exceeded her borrowing threshold.

In 2015, the then minister of finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala disclosed that the country earned $61.7 billion (about N12.3 trillion) as excess crude oil money between 2011 and 2015.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala who is now President of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), said Nigeria earned about $18.14 billion in 2011; $18.16 billion in 2012; $15.19 billion in 2013; $8.01 billion in 2014, and $2.17 billion in 2015.

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