A group of civil society organisations comprising ActionAid Nigeria, BudgIT, Centre for Social Justice and Christian Aid have called on the federal government to urgently end the calamitous crude oil theft in the delta region and safe the country a huge money for fiscal expenses.
The group claims that 400,000 barrels of crude oil is lost daily, which translates to be $1.2 billion per month and $14.4 billion (N6.272 trillion) per annum. The group believes 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.
The civil society organisations 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 who said federal government 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 federal government is not under any circumstance available for government owned enterprises expenditure.
The group also called on the President Muhammadu Buhari 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.
“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 percent and save not less than N3.36 trillion in 2023.”
Ene Obi country director for ActionAid 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,” Obi stated.
The group said reducing Nigeria’s tax expenditure proposal by 90 per cent will free up not less N4trillion revenue, while also demanding the use of government-owned Treasury Single Account (TSA) by all GOEs will increase government’s independent revenue by not less than N1 trillion.
“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,” Oyekpere said at the event that took place in Abuja.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the group urged Nigerians to drop all forms of sentiments and elect quality leaders that will effectively preside over the nation’s public offices.