By PRINCE OKAFOR
A Civil Society Organisation, CSO, has called on the Federal Government to collapse the Excess Crude Account, ECA, and 0.5 percent stabilization account into the stabilization account of the Sovereign Wealth Fund, SWF.
The group also called for submission of proposals to assist its advocacy programs targeted at ensuring establishment of effective stabilization mechanisms and encourage fiscal responsibility in Nigeria.
The CSO – Oil Revenue Tracking Initiative of the Yar’Adua Foundation – gathered CSOs, community groups and newsmen in South West region to provide information regarding the need for effective fiscal and oil governance frameworks and encourage them to demand accountability.
In a communiqué issued at the end of a roundtable which focused on Savings and Stabilization Mechanism for Nigeria, it stated that, “Despite earning over one trillion dollars from oil since 1970, there are more Nigerians living in poverty than any other country in the world.
“Nigeria’s proven oil reserves in 2015 were 37 billion barrels. At current levels of production, reserves are projected to last for another 37 years. This increases the urgency of the need to save for future generations.
“Despite oil revenue earnings, 60 percent of the population still lives below the poverty line. Corruption, mismanagement of oil reserves and lack of diversification in the export sector have slowed economic growth and contributed to high poverty levels. Multiple “curses” associated with natural resource endowed economies are all manifest in Nigeria.
“Despite the substantial revenues that have accrued to state and local governments, states are still burdened by debts from outstanding salaries owed to workers and huge contractor debts.”
The communiqué reads: “Government should follow due process in management of the ECA in line with demands from CSOs and the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, also ensure that energy data and statistics are accessible to the public. Place a priority on investment over consumption.
“Increase transparency regarding revenue inflow and outflow from the Federation Account. Ensure that the Niger Delta Master Plan is revised and fully implemented. Ensure that disbursement of funds from stabilization accounts is absolutely discouraged. Ensure that all tiers of government meet their financial obligations to the Sovereign Wealth Fund account.
“Norway serves as an example to Nigeria regarding an effective savings and stabilization mechanism. By May 2018, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, established in 1990, had accumulated approximately one trillion dollars. It is projected that by 2030, the fund will have increased to three times its current size. This will ensure a monthly income of $1,500 per Norwegian.”
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