The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has commended the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the arraignment of the suspended Director-General,Securities Exchange Commission, (SEC) Mounir Gwarzo, before an Abuja Federal High Courtover corruption charges.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, on Tuesday, while expressing the views of the Centre stated that: “When we first blew the lid on the corruptive acts of the SEC DG, the impression was given that nothing would come out of it and that the allegations leveled against him would be swept under the proverbial carpet. But we persisted and followed up, because of our unshakeable conviction that Corruption is at the very base of much of our underdevelopment and economic frustration of majority Nigerians”.
“Imagine what the billions of Dollars that have disappeared into private pockets could have done in providing infrastructure and pushing our technological drive to curb unemployment, low level of education and general backwardness in the country” he further stated.
Mr. Adeniran in concluding opined that, “We therefore call for a speedy prosecution of both the SEC Director General and all his accomplices so thatthe proceeds of crime are not only recovered, but adequate punishments are meted out to serve as a deterrent in orderto return our society to a path of sanity and accountability in the public service.”
He added: “There is simply no other way to go, if Nigeria would ever have any hope of breaking away from its ugly past.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) hereby calls on Senate President Bukola Saraki whose thugs have allegedly been arrested for their involvement in the bloody Offa Bank Robbery and massacre of innocent citizens to respond to the allegations that have been leveled against him by the Police.
This was contained in a press release issued by CACOL on Monday, signed by Ikenna Aghagbobi, the Ag. Media Officer of the Centre.
The CACOL boss stated that the group is alarmed that the gang leader, Ayoade Akinnibosun, in an interview with journalists said he worked as a political thug for Saraki while he was still in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He also stated that the more alarming details is that the robbers were allegedly sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles by the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed.
Adeniran in his reactions to these apprise has urged the police to investigate diligently, the allegations made by the Offa robbers against Saraki and Dogara as being sponsors of gangsterism.
According to him: “Even though the robbers have reported that, Saraki, and Dogara were not directly connected with the robberies, sponsoring mayhem and disrupting the rule of law is a grievous offence and hence, should not be treated with levity.
“It is a shocking and disgraceful revelation that those whom we entrusted the power to make decisions on the nation’s behalf are being mentioned in one type of crime or the other. This time, we should not sweep it under the rug as we do to most cases involving those in public offices.
“While we hope these allegations are not politically motivated, we believe it is wrong to withdraw the security aides of these men based on mere allegations. The law provides that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
“CACOL considers it imperative that the Police initiate a probe to find out what exactly transpired between the Senate President and Offa robbers. Other criminals being detained in connection with this case should also be questioned to expose their accomplices. We also urge our security institutions not to relent in their quest to maintain law and order across the country.”
Ag. Media Officer, CACOL
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed an Abuja High Court for sentencing the former Governor of Taraba State, Rev. Jolly Nyame, to 14 years’ imprisonment for looting N1.6b.
In a press statement issued by CACOL’s Executive Chairman, Mr, Debo Adeniran the group described Nyame’s conviction as a further reassurance that the our Judiciary and President Muhammadu Buhari mean business in ensuring that no corruption culprit, no matter how highly-placed, goes unpunished.
Adeniran recalled that Nyame, whose trial started in 2007 but was stalled by his team of lawyers who filed many applications to frustrate the efforts of the prosecution, was finally found guilty and convicted of 27 out of the 41 charges leveled against him.
According to him: “It is gratifying to note that the anti-corruption crusade is gradually exposing those who have been hiding under the cover of religion, political power or social status. We have also seen others resort to one political alignment or the other, and some trying to bribe their way out of an on-going corruption trial just to frustrate the judicial system and the efforts of anti-graft agencies”.
“We want to remind corruption criminals that no matter how many gimmicks they have up their sleeves, they shall eventually run out of tricks and the full wrath of the law will catch up with them”.
“We are overly delighted with the deterrent punishment meted out to the Ex-Governor. The anti-corruption war has before now been trapped in an endless loop of inconclusive cases, and we hope this victory against Nyame would facilitate the speedy and diligent trials and convictions of pending corruption cases”.
We urge the present administration to treat anyone with a corruption petition with all seriousness. Prosecution of corruption suspects shouldn’t be slowed down or halted without diligent investigation due to political expediency.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called for a review of the budgetary allocation usually called security votes by the federal, state and local governments across the country.
CACOL made the call while responding to a recent revelation by Transparency International (TI) that Federal and State Governments spend over N240 billion on security votes annually purportedly for tackling unexpected security issues. The anti-graft group further expressed regret that the disbursement of these huge sums of cash are not usually accounted for, nor subject to legislative oversight and independent audit.
Commenting on the revelation, Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of CACOL asked the Government to capture these allocations as security allowances appropriated for chief executives of the three tiers of government in annual budgetary estimates.
He further stated that security votes were supposed to be complementary budgetary allocations- for the purpose of responding to miscellaneous and unexpected security challenges-in addition to the usual allocation to the government’s security agencies.
According to him: “The current arrangement whereby chief executives of various tiers of government disburse security votes- which is a carry-over from the military era- as it pleases them creates room for massive corruption.
“While we implore the Government to be judicious in its handling of security vote’s allocation, we also call for a proper audit into previously spent security votes to ensure there are no fraudulent activities involved and also to ensure that these funds were used exactly for the purpose they were meant for.We insist that anybody found culpable of being corrupt in the handling of security votes should be made to face the full wrath of the law through proper prosecution to serve as a deterrent to incumbent office holders.”
Today marks the 19th year of our nascent democracy and the 3rd Anniversary of this administration. I am thankful to Almighty God for bringing us thus far. This administration came at a time that Nigerians needed Change, the Change we promised and the Change we continue to deliver. We have faced a lot of challenges on this journey and Nigerians have stood by us in achieving the three cardinal points of this administration namely; Security, Corruption and the Economy.
2. The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a celebration of freedom, a salute to the resilience and determination of Nigerians and a recommitment by Government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity.
3. Public safety and security remains the primary duty of this Government. Before this Administration came into being 3 years ago, Boko Haram held large areas of land spanning several Local Governments in the North East.
4. Today, the capacity of the insurgents has been degraded leading to the re-establishment of authority of government and the release of captives including, happily, 106 Chibok and 104 Dapchi girls, and over 16,000 other persons held by the Boko Haram.
5. In order to minimize the impact of the insurgency on Internally Displaced Persons, Government has established secure IDP Camps and has improved the mechanism for the distribution of basic aid, foods and essential commodities using various strategies in collaboration with local and international Organizations.
6. Efforts are in process for resettlement of IDPs in their home communities by providing schools, hospitals, clinics, water and sanitation to facilitate a quick return to economic activities. Government is similarly implementing de-radicalization and rehabilitation programmes to facilitate sustainable peace and development.
7. The unfortunate incidences of kidnappings, herdsmen and farmers clashes in several communities which have led to high number of fatalities and loss of properties across the country is being addressed and the identified culprits and their sponsors shall be made to face the full wrath of the law. All the three tiers of Government are presently engaged with communities and religious organizations to restore peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
8. I want to commend members of the Multinational Joint Task Force drawn from Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and our own country in collaboration with the International Community who are assisting in the fight against insurgency in the North East. I also commend the gallantry of members of our Armed Forces and other security agencies that have continued to provide security for lives and properties across the country. State and Local traditional authorities are helping with much needed intelligence in this fight against insurgency.
9. This administration is pained over the grievous loss of lives and properties occasioned by the carnage of insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country. I wish to assure Nigerians that we will not rest until all criminal elements and their sponsors are brought to justice. Government is boosting the capacity of our security agencies through recruitment of more personnel, training and procurement of modern equipment, enhancement of intelligence gathering as well as boosting their morale in the face of daunting challenges.
10. The Niger Delta Region has enjoyed relative peace through social inclusiveness and cooperation of the Elders and the good people of the region. Government is committed to implementing the comprehensive peace, security and development plan for the region. The environmental clean-up of the region which commenced with the launch in Bodo, Ogoni in June, 2016 is progressing satisfactorily. Furthermore farming assets are being revived and investors in cocoa and palm oil plantations are showing serious interest.
11. The second primary object of this Administration is to fight corruption headlong. Like I have always said, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will destroy the country. Three years into this Administration, Nigerians and theinternational community have begun to applaud our policies and determination to fight corruption. We are more than ever before determined to win this war, however hard the road is. I therefore appeal to all well-meaning Nigeriansto continue to support us in this fight.
12. Various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results. Some of these key reform policies include:
a. The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has realized Billions of Naira being saved from maintenance fee payable to banks. N200 Billion has also been saved from elimination of ghost workers in public service.
b. The Whistle-Blowing Policy has helped to recover over N500 Billion;
c. The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit set up with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs, ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms has helped to identify and remove over52,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government MDAs Payroll;
d. The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) aimed at expanding tax education and awareness has offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgivenesson overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax investigations.
e. The Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been expanded with an injection of US$650 million so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, re-construction of Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-IbadanExpressway, East West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla Hydro-electric Power project as well as the construction of the 2ndNiger Bridge.
13. The fight against corruption through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has resulted in recoveries of Billions of Naira, as well asforfeiture of various forms of assets. This alongside other efforts has improved Nigeria’s international image and regional cooperation.
14. We have retained the services of one of the world’s leading assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets globally. This is in addition to the exploitation of provisions of existing Treaties, Conventions as well as BilateralAgreements with Multilateral bodies and Nations. Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives.
15. This Administration has therefore focused on revamping the ailing economy it inherited in 2015. In 2016, Government executed an expansionary budget and developed the Strategic Implementation Plan. For the first time, 30% of the budget was earmarked for capital expenditure which represents an upward review when compared with the 2015 budget. The SIP was followed by the development of a comprehensive medium term plan – the EconomicRecovery and Growth Plan 2017 – 2020.
16. The broad strategic objectives of the ERGP were to; Restore and sustain economic growth; Build a globally competitive economy; and Invest in our people. The implementation of the ERGP has started yielding results. TheNational Bureau of Statistics reports that the economy grew by 1.95% in 1st quarter 2018, which is a good performance when viewed against -0.91 in 1st quarter 2017 and -0.67% in 1st quarter 2016 respectively.
17. Our foreign reserve has improved significantly to 47.5 billion USD as of May, 2018 as against 29.6 billion USD in 2015. The inflationary rate has consistently declined every month since January, 2017.
18. Recently, Government conducted Focus Labs in three key sectors of the Economy namely, Agriculture & Transport, Manufacturing and Processing as well as Power and Gas. These have yielded significant prospects forinvestments and Job creation to the tune of US$ 22.5 billion with a potential for creating more than 500,000 jobs by 2020. These investment generation initiatives are expected to increase capital inflows in the form of foreign directinvestment. There is a high prospect that the cumulative investments from this first phase of the Labs will hit US$39.2 billion by 2025.
19. Under agriculture, Nigeria continues to pursue a strategic food security programme built around self-sufficiency and minimization of import dependency. As a result, rice importation from other countries has been cut down by90% which has a direct impact on foreign reserves.
20. The Social Investment Programmes (SIP) has been created as a means to graduating our citizens from poverty through capacity building, investment and direct support. The major strategic objective is to restore livelihood, economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor across the country. The SIP programmes and projects include:
a.Home Grown School Feeding Programme – About 8.2 million pupils are currently being fed from 24 States of the Federation with over 75,000 Catering Staff engaged under the programme.
bThe Conditional Cash Transfer has so far recorded over 297,000 caregivers and being trained by 2,495 Community Facilitators in 21 states. Less privileged Nigerians are now being paid N5,000 monthly stipendin 9 pilot States of Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo. Eventually the scheme will cover all the 36 states of the federation including the FCT.
c. Under the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme – About 264,269 loans had been disbursed to 4,822 societies in the 36 States and FCT, while another 370,635 are awaiting release of funds.
d. N-Power Job creation Scheme is targeted at providing jobs for unemployed young graduates and has so far recruited 200,000 youths while the next batch of 300,000 have been selected, verified and would soonbe deployed across the 36 States and the FCT. Furthermore, 20,000 non-graduate volunteers have also been selected to kick off the N-Build programme in collaboration with the National Automotive Design andDevelopment Council and the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria.
21. In the area of power generation, Nigerians from all parts of the country continue to report better power supply and less use of generators. This underscores the effectiveness of the methodical plan to deliver incremental anduninterrupted power supply to our homes, markets, offices and factories.
22. The country achieved 5, 222.3 MW representing the highest peak of power generated onto the national grid and delivered to customers in December, 2017. With new facilities, repairs and rehabilitations by Government andprivate investors, generation capability now exceeds 7,500 MW.
23. This Administration is committed to lawful interventions to ensure the operators of the distribution business live up to expectations especially in the areas of distribution capacity, service delivery, collection efficiency, andmetering to eliminate contentious estimated billing.
24. The Transportation Sector continues to undergo a series of reforms in order to sustain the international best practices and ensure safety and security. The nation’s major airports have witnessed reconstruction of runways, installation of navigational equipment and new international terminals due for commissioning in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Enugu. Bilateral Air Services Agreements between Nigeria and the Governments of other countries willsignificantly open up new flight routes.
25. As a result of strict regulatory and compliance policies, Nigeria retained her Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 status, after a routine international audit. Recently, a new Maintenance Repair and Overhaulfacility with capacity for aircraft C-checks and other comprehensive levels of maintenance was established in Lagos. This would save the country an estimated $90m annually.
26. Giant strides have been recorded over the past three years to improve road transport infrastructure in all geopolitical zones of the country.
27. The Railway Sector has also received tremendous attention as this Administration is committed to the goal of linking all State capitals in the Federation by rail network to ease the movement of goods and passengers.
28. The Education Sector especially at tertiary level has continued to witness expansion in order to improve access to higher education by millions of youths in Nigeria. Over the last three years, Government has approved theestablishment of 1 new Federal Polytechnic, granted licenses for the establishment of 4 State and 14 private-owned Universities as well as 12 private Polytechnics.
29. Government has also continued to support the implementation of various initiatives aimed at improving the quality of Basic Education delivery. Thus, it has ensured proper funding at the Basic Education level with thedisbursement of N42.2 billion UBE Matching Grant to 26 States and the FCT, N851.5 million Special Education Grant disbursed to 23 States and private providers of Special Education and N2.2 billion Teachers ProfessionalDevelopment Fund to 33 States and the FCT.
30. The Federal Government has continued to support fiscal sustainability at the sub-national governments through the implementation of the Budget Support Facility which was accompanied by the 22- point Fiscal SustainabilityPlan. Thus, bailouts funds were made available to States to ease their fiscal challenges and other obligations including payment of salaries.
31. In addition, a total of 73 Ecological Fund projects for the control of gully erosion in different communities across all geopolitical zones have been completed in the last three years and are undergoing commissioning while 53 other projects are ongoing. The execution of these projects has generated 357 skilled jobs and 1,350 unskilled jobs during this period.
32. It is pertinent to also make mention of the immeasurable contributions of the Nigerian woman to national development and advancement of democracy, over the last three years. The government and people appreciate you all asmothers of our great country.
33. My dear country men and women, as we all celebrate our democratic experience, let us resolve to avoid hatred and intolerance; we can only achieve our objectives in an atmosphere of harmony and peaceful co-existence.
34. Finally, the up-coming months will usher us into another season of general elections. Let me use this opportunity to urge us all to conduct ourselves, our wards and our constituencies with the utmost sense of fairness, justice andpeaceful co-existence such that we will have not only hitch free elections but also a credible and violence free process.
35. In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the “Not Too Young to Run” Bill
36. I thank you for your attention.
37. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
*Being the full text of the 2018 Democracy Day Broadcast by President Buhari.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership CACOL has strongly condemned acts of brigandage and obstruction of justice displayed by supporters of former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau who was yesterday arraigned before a Kano State High Court over an alleged fraud of N950m.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, while expressing the Centre’s views, decried a situation whereby ordinary Nigerians who are the direct victims of corrupt practices would make themselves available to be rented as a crowd by the same politicians that mortgaged their future through their insatiable stealing of the commonwealth entrusted to their care.
Mr. Adeniran stated that: “As much as our law provides that even for corruption charges, every accused person remains innocent until proven guilty, we implore accused persons and their supporters to note that the process of justice and equity is sacrosanct and requires that caution is applied so that the course of justice is not perverted or compromised in any way.
“We deem it necessary to remind Nigerians of the fact that Corruption has neither tribe nor religion as its ravaging effects could be felt by all and sundry, especially ordinary Nigerians that are left with no cover. We therefore appreciate the fact that Alhaji Shekarau did not abscond but made himself available for trial to respond to the allegation levelled against him.
We also need to caution his followers on the right attitude to display during his court appearances. In the same vein, we want to appreciate our law-enforcement agents for bringing the situation under control without undue casualties, while we recommend speedy trial and conclusion of the case so that the course of justice is not only served, but seen to be served.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has lauded the arraignment of the Secretary to Rivers State Government, Mr Kenneth Kobani for money laundering.
In a statement issued by Mr Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, he noted that the six-count charge brought against the duo of Kobani and one Samuel Okpoko, bordering on money laundering involving a sum of N750m, was another bold step in tackling the hydra-headed monster of corruption in the country. It is noteworthy that the exhibits in this case are part of the infamous $115m, Diezani Alison-Madueke scam which were clearly proceeds of corruption.
Mr. Debo Adeniran stated that, “For every million Naira or Dollar stolen or misappropriated by any Government official and their cronies, millions of Nigerians are directly deprived of access to education, good roads, electricity and other social amenities and the right to life through good Medicare. This is why like Caesar’s wife; those who have being put in positions of public trust must rise above board by accounting for every penny in their care.
“We commend EFCC and ICPC for their patriotic zeal to rid our land of evils of corruption and provide the accused the opportunity to clear their names if they are innocent of the charges proffered against them. We also advise that this case and many others like them should be clinically, diligently and fairly prosecuted and concluded. Whoever turns out culprits should be made to suffer for their wicked acts while proceeds of the crime should be completely retrieved and repatriated to their original source to relief long-suffering Nigerians and serve as a deterrent to others. If however, they are found innocent of the charges, they should be promptly released and adequately compensated for the moral and material damages they could have suffered. It will also send a strong signal that no matter how long it takes, the seemingly slow-grinding wheel of justice will eventually catch up with whoever is involved in corruption crimes.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received news about the allegations of mismanagement and ‘outright pilfering’ of $16b (Sixteen billion Dollars) through power projects during ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure with a measure of caution while calling for the setting up of a probe panel to officially ascertain how much was actually spent, on what and where, and bring culprits to book, if any.
Mr Debo Adeniran, CACOL Executive Chairman, recalled how the nation was taken aback when under the erstwhile president’s successor in office, President Umar Yar’ Adua, it was alleged that Obasanjo’s government had spent about $16b on electricity without anything substantial on ground after his tenure. But a probe panel set up by the then National Assembly exculpated ex-President Obasanjo of any wrongdoing while insisting that the figure was unduly exaggerated. This much has been reiterated by the spokesman to Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr KehindeAkinyemi, who revealed that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo never claimed to have spent the bandied sum of $16b on power projects and that aside from the allegation, what was spent could be seen in the seven National Integrated Power Projects and 18 (eighteen) gas turbines. Mr Akin Oshuntokun, spokesman for the Obasanjo-led Coalition for Nigeria, CNM, also echoed a similar view by pointing out that based on several investigations that had been carried out on the matter and reports compiled, it was clear Obasanjo only spent $6.3bn (Six Billion, Three Hundred Million Dollars) on the power sector throughout his eight-year tenure.
The CACOL Coordinator went further, “Our checks revealed that during 1999-2007 when Obasanjo held sway, the Federal Government built six gas power plants now supplying electricity to the national grid. They include Afam II (276mw), Papalanto (330mw), all completed by May, 2007, a fifth plant at Alaoju, Delta State (545mw), was under construction while a sixth plant was being constructed at Ikot-Abasi, Akwa Ibom state (145mw). It was a state government partnership with FGN.
‘Also during the same period, six states initiated power projects under the NIPP Program with FGN support at Sapele, Egbema, Ehobor, Gbaram, Calabar and Omoku; rehabilitated existing power plants at Kainji, Egbin and Shiroro, which were all performing far below capacity due to accumulated neglect. In all of this, our position remains that, as an organization that prides itself as a coalition for exposing, shaming, and consigning corruption to the dustbin of history while encouraging openness in leadership without minding whose ox is gored, we hereby recommend setting up of an impartial and competent probe panel to finally lay to rest, this ghost of how much Obasanjo’s administration actually spent on power projects during its 8-year tenure and expose any shady deals therein while bringing culprits to book. This practical approach must also be patiently applied in other identified areas of corruption.
During the electioneering campaign period preceding Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s return to power, he unambiguously insisted that his government would not pay any fuel subsidy as he believed that the subsidy regime was fraudulent. He also promised that he would make the refineries work and encourage private participation in the downstream sector so that competition could be encouraged and the premium motor spirit (PMS) made more readily available to Nigerians. Most Nigerians received his promises with much expectation and optimism as this was in tandem with their thinking. In actual fact, after Buhari’s ascension to power later that same year, there was no sign of the ghoulish subsidy spirit rearing its head as the 2016 budget the Federal Government sent to the National Assembly had no provision for it.
However, early in 2016 the issue of fuel subsidy was brought to the fore again as long queues of motorists started appearing at petrol stations with marketers refusing to import the product as they insisted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), should settle outstanding debts owed to them running into trillions of Naira. They claimed that the debts accumulated from the difference between the landing cost and pump price of fuel which was lower. The resultant effect was a probe by President Buhari which revealed that the fraud that was involved in the subsidy regime was so rampant that some individuals and organizations collected monies running into billions of Naira as subsidy even when they imported little or nothing but simply falsified documents to back up their fraudulent claims. This subsidy scam purge did not, however, stop the reality of subsidy as successive governments since the time of late Gen. Abacha when the four functioning refineries in Nigeria became redundant and all kinds of fuel was imported into the country for consumption.
The Buhari government later in 2016 increased the pump price of petrol from N86.50 per litre to a cap limit of N145 per litre . But by 2017, the Government was made to pay around N3.2 trillion as subsidies and just before Christmas celebrations, long queues started appearing at petrol stations with marketers further requesting to be paid their outstanding debts for them to resume purchase and lifting of oil from abroad. To an average Nigerian on the street who requires fuel to move his goods and services from one point to the other either as motorists or commuters, this ever- increasing price of a commodity that nature has endowed the nation with in abundance (Nigeria remains the 7th largest producer of oil with its bent crude oil being one of the best in the world) vis a vis the perennial shortage of the refined product, remains unfathomable and regrettable.
PRICE INCREASES OF PETROL BETWEEN 1973 (GOWON’S ADMINISTRATION AND PRESIDENT MUHAMMED BUHARI’S ADMINISTRATION)
(I) Gowon: (1973: 6 kobo to 8.45 kobo per litre, 40.83%)
(II) Murtala: (1976: 8.45 kobo to 9 kobo, 6.5%)
(III) Obasanjo: (Oct. 1, 1978: 9 kobo to 15.3kobo, 70%)
(IV) Shagari: (April 20, 1982: 15.3kobo to 20kobo, 30.72%)
(April 10, 1988: 39.5 kobo to 42 kobo, 6.33%)
(January1, 1989: 42 kobo to 60 kobo, 42.86%)
(March 6, 1991: 60 kobo to 70 kobo, 16.67 %%)
(vi) Shonekan (spent 82 days in power) November 8, 1993: 70kobo to N5, 614%
(vii) Abacha: (November 22, 1993: N5 to N3.25, price dropped by 35%)
Abacha: (October 2, 1994: N3.25 to N15, 361.54%)
(October4, 1994: N15 to N11, price dropped by 26.67%)
(viii) Abubakar: (December 20, 1998: N11 to N25, 127.27%)
Abubakar: (January 6, 1999: N25 to N20, price dropped by 25%)
(ix) President Obasanjo: (June 1, 2000: N20 to N30, 50%)
President Obasanjo: (June 8, 2000: N30 to N22, price dropped by 26.67%)
“ (January 1, 2002: N22 to N26, 18.18%)
“ (June, 2003: N26 to N42, 61.54%)
“ (May 29, 2004: N42 to N50, 19.05%)
“ (August 25, 2004: N50 to 75, 15.39%)
(x) Yar’ Adua: (June, 2007: price drops back to N65, dropped by 15.39%)
(xi) Jonathan: (January 1, 2012: N65 to N141, 116.92%)
(xii) Jonathan: (January 17, 2012:N141 to N97, price dropped by 31.21%)
“ (February, 2015: N97 to N87), price dropped by 10.31%)
(xiii) President Buhari: (May 11, 2016: N87 to N145, 66.67%)
SUBSIDY PAYMENTS IN NIGERIA OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS
(2013- N4.98 trillion)
(2014- N4.69 trillion)
(2015- N4.49 trillion)
(2016/2017- N6.06 trillion)
From available statistics, it is clear that the Nigerian economy is synonymous with fuel scarcity, attendant price regime fluctuations, occasioned by bogus fuel subsidies that never seem to solve this perennial problem in the downstream sector of our oil industry. The only exception is Yar’Adua’s short-lived regime that refused to increase fuel price but even went ahead to reduce it as could be gleaned from the available data.
We recollect that on December 6, 2011, Mrs Okonjo Iweala, then Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, made a special presentation to the Executive Council of the Federation (EXCOF) on the subsidy issue. She explained the key facts about: fuel subsidy; deregulation of the downstream sector and its benefits; why subsidy must be removed as it was a major fiscal and financial burden on the nation; those who benefit from subsidies; the relationship between subsidies and the Federal Government of Nigeria’s budget; how Nigeria compares with other African countries as well as oil producing countries; how Nigeria compares with other oil producing countries in the area of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and per Capita Income; where Nigeria would stand after the removal of subsidy when compared to both African countries as well as oil producing countries, etc. Ironically, none of these beautiful pontifications and economic Eldorado she prophesied has ever been realised long after increases in the pricing regime of fuel and payment of subsidies.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE? : As an Economist and Social Commentator, Rahman Oladosu, noted in his paper, dated, March 6, 2018, and titled, ‘Still on Fuel Subsidy in Nigeria’, “Every regime follows the typical playbook in dealing with fuel scarcity: sympathise with Nigerians and talk about how they should not be wasting useful hours queuing for fuel; talk about how marketers, smugglers and various middlemen are sabotaging the economy for their own selfish interest; promise to revamp the refineries; pay off marketers so they can settle their debts; import new products and flood the market with fuel, with the hope that it makes the scarcity go away. In all this we often forget to ask ourselves a simple question: Is fuel scarcity the problem or is it just a symptom of a problem?
‘The result of the desire to keep prices fixed in the face of changing fundamentals, is that Governments have been forced to pay a subsidies. For instance, although the present government claims it does not officially pay any subsidy, but its cash cow, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) pays on its behalf. The long term solution is that the Government must stop fixing prices by allowing markets to determine prices through the forces of demand and supply. Like every other commodity, prices will go up and down but will eventually stabilise and invariably allow players in the Industry to perform their role in making the commodity available in all seasons, without let or hindrance.
It is noteworthy however, that though Buhari’s government promised to get the refineries working at full capacity so that we can reduce our import-dependence when it came to power in 2015, the few ones still working do so at less than 10% (ten percent) of installed capacity. Dangote refinery remains the only new refinery under construction and work started on it since the time of the previous regime. As at 2015, when this regime came to power, a US Dollar exchanged for N165 but the same dollar now exchanges for N315 and even N500 at a time.
Currently, there is a rising price of crude oil at the international market, with the Iran- Middle East crisis, which would make marketers to buy refined products at a higher price that they must pass on to the end users. All this clearly underpins the fact that the usual template for the current price regime may no longer be appropriate.
It is pertinent to mention that for the nation to find a lasting solution to this conundrum, new refineries have to be built so that fuel importation would be halted. It is also our position that if this goal is achieved, the sustained devaluation of the naira which has persisted for decades would also be stopped thereby salvaging the economy from endless bleeding.
All these would contribute to refloat the capital base of the economy. Other necessary measures include identifying and punishing corrupt government officials, anywhere, anytime to ensure that the nation’s wealth is not frittered but used for the welfare of the people and development of the nation. Unemployment should also be tackled, frontally, while infrastructure is adequately provided for innovations and enterprise to thrive. In the meantime, conscious efforts must be made to alleviate the suffering and frustration of the masses rather than worsening it.
The Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has welcomed the news of the eventual passage of 2018 budget by both chambers of the National Assembly with bated relief and cautious optimism.
CACOL Executive Chairman, Mr. DeboAdeniran, noted that the national budget is finally seeing the light of day almost five months behind schedule with N9.12tn (Nine trillion, One Hundred and twelve Million Naira) approved as against an initial proposal of N8.612tn (Eight Trillion, Six Hundred and twelve Million Naira) submitted on November 7, 2017, by the Presidency.
In same statement by the CACOL Chairman noted that the budget document shows provision for debt servicing of about 23% (Twenty Three percent) of the entire budget and reflected on how “this calls for a serious rethink in our debts accumulation, management and dispensation if we were to ever break from a depressing state of national dependency and underdevelopment”. While agreeing that borrowing for infrastructural development and other avenues that could rejig productivity and self-reliance are not condemnable, Mr Adeniran noted that “the resultant effects of such debt profile should be made manifest within a reasonable length of time while conscious efforts are made towards a healthier economy through bigger Gross Domestic Product (GDP), National Security of people and their properties and other veritable indices of growth and development”.
Mr. Debo Adeniran further said, “CACOL greets the increase in budget volume for the Health sector by a significant shift, especially the final approval of 1% of the overall budget voted towards primary health care provision, which is long overdue. However, the organization decries the embarrassing low budget allocation to Educational sector. Though the N541.2b (Five Hundred and Forty One billion, Two Hundred Million Naira) allocation seems a significant increase from less than N400b allocated to same sector last year, the import of less than 7% macro allocation pales when compared to 26% (Twenty six percent) UNESCO recommendation to education.”
“Also, Nigeria’s allocation to Educational sector has consistently remained one of the lowest even in the West African sub-region with countries like Cote D’ivoire allocating 25 percent, Ghana- 23%, Cape Verde -13 percent, Benin Republic- 15%, etc. On face value, this gives a veiled abhorrence to Education in an age where it is generally agreed that education remains the key to individual and national rebirth, i.e., growth, cohesion and development”, the CACOL Chairman opined.
Advising on the need to fast-track the implementation of the budget due to the late passage of the law, Debo Adeniran averred, “Due to the importance of budget as a veritable mechanism of financial interpretation of and list of to-do by the Government, we call for speedy Presidential assent and strict adherence to its faithful implementation by all organs of government. We also hope and pray for a more robust and speedy passage of our national budget in future”