International advocacy group ‘Publish What You Pay’ (PWYP) has raised the alarm over the controversy surrounding the creation of a soveriegn wealth fund, lamenting that Nigeria was the only resource rich country without savings.
Disclosing this yesterday in Abuja at an ongoing national stakeholders’ summit on the extractive sector, National Cordinator, PWYP in Nigeria, Faith Nwadishi, said it was unheard of that a resource rich nation like Nigeria would not have savings.
She explained that this, among other reasons informed the conveyance of the summit to arm Nigerians with the necessary information about the extractive sector to enable them hold their leaders accountable.
“If citizens don’t know the intricacies in running the extractive sector which accounts for about 80 per cent of our income it means we are leaving it in the hands of less than 10 per cent of the population of over 167 million people to begin to give us directions.
And that is why you would have governors who do not support the creation of sovereign wealth fund because the citizens are not aware enough to say we need to have savings.
“Its unheard of that Nigeria is the only resource rich country that does not have savings. We tried with the excess crude account, but it didn’t work because it was not constitutional, now we want to have it right, but if citizens don’t engage the National Assembly right we cannot have a constitutional amendment,” she said.
According to her, PWYP started engaging citizens when it found out the widespread ignorance in the country. According to her, “Most Nigerians don’t even know that the country is implementing EITI at the state and local government level” adding“So we felt we should bring people at the local level especially oil and gas and solid minerals communities to strategise on how to be active participants in the EITI process,” she said.