Saturday, 1 August 2015

WHAT MISSING N11.56 TRILLION EXCESS CRUDE FUND CAN DO FOR NIGERIA

If one third of the Nigerian population were to queue up for a bonus pay cheque, no fewer than 53 million citizens will smile home with N18,000 every month for a full year from the unaccounted N11.56 trillion Excess Crude Accounts now subject of national accountability scandal.

PREMIUM TIMES exclusive investigation indicating that N11.56 trillion in oil revenues remained unaccounted for in eight years is putting fresh spotlight on the Nigerian government’s poor accountability record and underlining the human cost of Nigerian corruption.

Because a huge chunk of Nigeria’s resources are either stolen or unaccounted for, Africa’s largest oil producer has continued to grapple with devastating poverty and chronic underdevelopment, said Chibuike Mgbeahuruike, Executive Director of Nigeria’s activist group, Civic Space Initiative.

“Many people have died in recent years on account of Boko Haram, but many more have been killed as a result of public sector corruption expressed in widespread poverty, accident-ridden bad roads, poor health facilities and general infrastructure decay,” he said.

PREMIUM TIMES’ data scientists and reporters who surveyed seven key sectors of the nation’s life say in the hands of development-minded administrators, the N11.56 excess crude money so far unaccounted for could have provided at least 577,000 primary schools built for N20 million each; while 1.16 million health centres could have been built for N7million.

Still on the health track, 76 million Nigerian kids could get mosquito treated nets at N6,900 each, saving them from the scourge of malaria which today kills more than 300,000 Nigerian children under the age of five in annually and responsible for 11 per cent of maternal mortality cases yearly, according to experts at the Malaria Action Programme for States (MAPS).

With the country’s HIV population of 3.1 million, the nation would be a healthier environment caring for the ART needs of this vulnerable group for 108 years if N34,500 is spent on each patient per year.

The perennial power shortage that has crippled economic growth and development efforts could get an unusual boost with an additional investment in 457 gas fired turbine plant at the cost of N25.3 billion per piece. Each plant can generate an average of 485 megawatts, according to an estimate provided by a committee led by former Vice President Namadi Sambo. So 457 units can generate over 220,000 megawatts to the national grid.

Highway infrastructure, water and sanitation development and provision of low cost housing are the other areas that can see remarkable transformation.

In the housing sector, at N7million per piece, the country can provide 1.65 million additional cheap housing for citizens; and provide 126 million households with potable water at a cost of N93,000 per household connection. That will far exceed national needs, since, on the records of the National Bureau on Statistics, the country only has 45 million households.

In the area of highway infrastructure, available data show that 123,000 km of dual carriage paved roads can be built at current cost of N93million per kilometre. That translates to building a road from Lagos to Maiduguri and then to Port Harcourt.

In interviews with PREMIUM TIMES, development planners bemoaned the negative effects of corruption on Nigeria.
“Corruption retards national development, makes a few people rich, more people are pushed down the poverty line; violated people’s economic and social rights to the benefits of natural resource endowment; denies Nigeria the opportunity of occupying her rightful position in the comity of nations,” said Eze Onyekpere, Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice.

Auwal Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre [CISLAC] agrees.
“Corruption denies Nigeria development at the level the people desire, particularly in terms of ability to provide the basic infrastructure to give the people quality living,” Mr. Rafsanjani said. “Corruption deprives the people of water, roads, hospital, health centres.
“The insecurity in the country, like Boko Haram, is as a result of corruption, because those at the border collect bribe to allow the insurgents to come into the country; all kinds of goods are allowed to come into country to compete with our local industries.”

As far as Faith Nwadishi, National Chairman, Publish What You Pay Nigeria, is concerned, “Corruption has given Nigeria a bad image, making the country to lose a lot of diplomatic grounds, as people would not want to do business with the people without the suspicion being duped.”
Joseph Amenaghawon of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa [OSIWA], argued along the same line.

“Corruption has not allowed the country to be opened up for the quantum of investment that should flow in country,” Mr. Amenaghawon said. “Corruption has made it difficult for the country to translate growth into benefits for the people, which has resulted in high incidence of youth unemployment. The corruption around the oil industry has not allowed the economy to spread the value from the national resource to impact the people.”




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