This is a bombshell: The Federal Government has announced that Nigeria’s “Excess Crude Account (ECA) balance as at 20th January 2021 is $72,411,197.80.” Yes, $72 million. In Feb 2014, that number was $3.6 billion and as at August 2015, it was $2.2 billion. Simply, we have blown the “saving” from crude oil in less than a decade!
Other updates at the NEC meeting include account balances as at 20th January, 2020 given by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, as follows:
Excess Crude Account (ECA), balance as at 20th January, 2021, $72,411,197.80; Stabilization Account, balance as at 19th January, 2021, N28, 800, 711,295.37; Natural Resources Development Fund Account, balance as at 19th January 2021, N95, 830,729,470.82.
My position which I put forward in my speech in the National Assembly in 2019 remains: put 50% of the fund into accredited local venture capital firms who must invest at parity of 50-50 in Nigerian companies. Those VC firms must have independent investment boards from SEC, CBN, BOI and private sector. Under no scenario should ECA be used to cover the cost of bureaucracy. Had we done that, we might have stimulated the economy and built the foundation for new growth drivers.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N6.45 billion for the setting up of gas plants in 38 locations nationwide in a bid to enhance the treatment of Covid-19 patients who need oxygen. That is a commendable one as many lives have been wasted due to the lack of this basic tool. Yet, it would have been better if they had gone through the private sector instead of doing it directly as a government.
Nigeria should STOP building things because we spend N10 billion to build, and in 3 years, we “privatize” for N1 billion. Haba!
That is the reason why I am not celebrating the inauguration of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC) Lagos, which is aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s position as a regional leader in the oil and gas industry. It would have been great if they established it inside a university instead of the Lagos Annex of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). Personally, it is either we want to have universities or not. Yes, you cannot be funding AI & robotics centers in NITDA when such could not be put inside universities, limiting the need to expand national bureaucracy.
Of course, you can argue that the government had no option since schools now strike all the time. Sure but funding centers this way will not fix the long-time paralysis.
Comment #1: Yeye dey smell. Fela talk am. 6.45 Billion to make oxygen? in 38 locations!!!!!!!! A smarter person would have: Called all the Vice-Chancellors of all federal and private universities and given then that mandate, in return for an equal split in the fund. Give a gas plant that would make oxygen so that your universities will serve as production facilities and then sell on to the end users. It would be a double investment benefit.
One simple modular design, 38 universities, then they use the facility for study and research and expand knowledge from there. Why do we have all the Federal Universities??????????? jeez…. these guys just stumble from one side to the other. By now, the Federal universities should have been working with the defense ministry to build military hardware to fight Boko-Haram, and not mint graduates for the Canadian market!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Comment #2: There is nothing in your speech that the government doesn’t know about. Politicians are just wicked. They want to continue milking the country till the country dies.
My response to #2: I agree 100%. We need to avoid the illusion that we (outside govt) are smarter than anyone. The fact is this – unless we have the hearts of service, nothing will change. I mean, it is not rocket science that if you want to save for the future, you INVEST, and not spend on frivolities. Possibly, in 3 months, ECA will go to zero. Then, we will begin looking for another to drain.
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