Ezekwesili, Others Seek Constitutional Amendment on ECA

PUNCH
By ENIOLA AKINKUOTU

A former Minister of Education and Vice-President of the World Bank’s Africa division, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, has called on the Federal Government to quickly initiate the process of amending the constitution to legalise the savings derived from an increase in the price of crude oil.

Ezekwesili said this at a workshop on the savings and stabilisation mechanism for Nigeria organised by the Oil Revenue Tracking Initiative of the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation and the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter in Abuja on Monday.

The former minister said one of the issues that led to Nigeria’s recession in 2016 was the sharp drop in the price of crude oil.

She noted that since there was no legal framework for saving the money that was made during the days of high oil prices, the money was wasted thereby leaving Nigeria vulnerable.

Ezekwesili said she was also surprised that during the last constitutional amendment last year which gave way to the ‘Not Too Young to Run Law’, no one thought it necessary to amend Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution with provisions that guaranteed automatic savings of surplus revenues from oil, gas and minerals with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.

The former minister said, “We should expect a direct constitutional amendment and reform of oil revenue management. It should not only be oil revenue because when I was head of NEITI, we made it natural resources revenue management to ensure that solid minerals were included.

“So, we want a direct constitutional amendment and reform initiated by the executive arm of the Federal Government and the 36 states of the federation which is then accepted and acted on by the national and houses of assembly.

“In other words, it must go through the typical amendment process. We canvass this because the current constitution does not lend itself to savings.”

See original article here