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Author Topic: How to track Nigeria’s missing oil billions  (Read 358 times)

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How to track Nigeria’s missing oil billions —Financial Times of London •Demands full audit of oil revenue

By News Express on 24/12/2013


The Financial Times (FT) of London has demanded a full and transparent audit of Nigeria’s oil industry as the only way to confirm how many billions of dollars are missing out of the country’s oil revenue.
“Not for the first time, Nigerians are being let down by poor stewardship of the oil industry, on which their country still depends for more than 90 per cent of export earnings,” the paper said in an editorial published on Sunday, December 22.

Challenging President Goodluck Jonathan to get to the bottom of the problem, FT said: “Mr Jonathan should order a forensic, external audit of the oil accounts to clear up the confusion. This could go two ways. It could expose the real extent of losses due to gross mismanagement and knock a further dent in public confidence. However, it could also show that government is serious about plugging the holes, while adding urgency to the passage of legislation meant to restore the industry back to health.”

The editorial entitled ‘Time for Nigeria to plug its oil leaks’ acknowledged the effort made by the Nigerian Government to reconcile figures between the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It, however, said that this is not enough.
According to The Financial Times, “One conclusion that can be drawn from the official confusion this month over the proportion of oil revenues going missing is that little progress has been made in bringing greater transparency to the sector. Africa’s leading oil producer still hosts an industry subject to billions of dollars in abuse, in obvious need of more stringent monitoring.”

The paper noted that, even though the reconciliation exercise showed that only about $11bn is missing from oil revenue realised between January 2012 and July 2013 – as against the nearly $50bn claimed by CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in his letter to President Jonathan – “There are big questions still left to answer, however. The first is how the state oil company justifies withholding the $11bn identified.” FT said that “Swap contracts, when crude oil allocated for domestic consumption is exchanged for refined product imports without money changing hands, may be hiding further substantial losses.”

The paper declared emphatically: “Only an audit can resolve (the) confusion over (the) missing billions.”

Source News Express


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