Civil society groups demand end to oil theft

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A group of civil society organisations comprising ActionAid Nigeria, BudgIT, Centre for Social Justice and Christian Aid have called on the Federal Government to end the crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region and save the country huge revenue for fiscal expenses.

Ahead of the forthcoming 2023 general elections, the groups urged Nigerians to drop all forms of sentiments and elect quality leaders that will effectively preside over the nation’s public offices.

They claimed that 400,000 barrels of crude oil are lost daily, which translates to $1.2 billion per month and $14.4 billion (N6.272 trillion) per annum, adding that if the sum is brought into account in the books of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, it will increase its profit and the dividends paid to the government.

They also urged the authorities to ensure that monthly remittance of interim operating surplus and reconciliation of cumulative remittances after year end is converted to a monthly deduction by the accountant-general of the federation.

The CSOs made the call yesterday while presenting their recommendations on the 2023-2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper of the federal government.

Leader of the group, Mr Eze Onyekpere, said the FG need not wait for its enterprises to remit but the platform should be set up in such a manner that facilitates automatic deduction thereby ensuring that the sums due to the FG is not under any circumstance available for government-owned enterprises expenditure.

They called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to consider the removal of the leadership of NNPCL under whose watch the crude oil stealing has escalated. In the alternative, the CSOs expect the government to set clear theft reduction targets for the leadership of NNPC and the security agencies.

Country director, ActionAid, Ene Obi, said, “The government should ensure that the reported quantity of PMS consumed every day is not inflated by conducting a transparent consumption audit and cut extant fuel subsidy by 50 per cent and save not less than N3.36 trillion in 2023.”

She expressed regret that current political office holders do not manage state resources for the common good of Nigerians.

“Look at the quality of people that occupy our public offices, especially privatised offices,” she stated.

The group noted that reducing Nigeria’s tax expenditure proposal by 90 per cent will free up not less than N4trillion revenue, while also demanding the use of government-owned Treasury Single Account by all GOEs will increase government’s independent revenue by not less than N1 trillion.

One of the group leaders, Oyekpere said, “Set a debt ceiling in accordance with S.41 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act. This ceiling should be defined in the relationship of debt to revenue.

“Redefine the purpose of incurring debts in clear terms of debts being for projects that will promote value chain development, improve the macroeconomic framework, development infrastructure and build strategic human capital.”


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