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FG can save $200bn by blocking loopholes

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By Abraham Adekunle

HEDA says only 16 of 36 oil terminals in the country are metered.

According to the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA Resource Centre), the Federal Government can save over $200 billion every year by blocking loopholes in oil revenue. At a time when the country is undergoing some economic downturns, the funds recovered through stringent anti-corruption measures in the oil and gas industry will help Nigeria get back on its feet. It expressed regret that out of some 36 oil terminals in Nigeria, only 16 are metered. This makes it difficult to monitor oil and gas production and distribution at local and international markets.

The non-partisan non-governmental organization added that Nigeria needs to work with all stakeholders including security, media, community-based organizations as well as anti-graft groups in order to bring the country back from the brink of economic downturn. HEDA made the recommendations in a statement after a weeklong international conference on anti-corruption held in Abuja. The theme of the conference was “Nigeria and the Fight Against Corruption-Reviewing the Buhari Regime and Setting Agenda for the Tinubu Administration.” The non-partisan human rights and development league conducts research, policy advocacy, training, citizens’ awareness and mobilization on core human development issues. This includes agriculture, food security, climate change, human rights, public sector accountability, and electoral reform processes.

Culture of corruption is a threat to democracy, the group says.

With a debt profile of N77 trillion and an extremely poor service ratio, the NGO said that Nigeria is at a critical moment and its people are passing through very difficult times. It recommends decisively fighting corruption as the surest way to recovery. According to the organization, recovery of stolen funds and an end to graft in the oil sector will see Nigeria witness an upsurge in revenue to meet the needs of Nigerians who are at the end of the stick.

Meanwhile, it says that corruption is linked with poverty, violence, and all sorts of extremism and that sustained culture of corruption remains a threat to democracy. One of the key participants at the conference was Mr. Femi Falana, who had drawn the attention of the Nigerian authorities to the fact that billions of dollars were lost to various rogue cartels in the oil and gas industry. According to his statement, Falana said that about $62 billion were outstanding royalties that the oil companies have failed to pay to the government in the last 18 years.

Nigeria has recently acquired oil-monitoring equipment.

As well, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Mr. Gbenga Komolafe, have said the country has acquired new technology that would effectively monitor oil production, distribution, and exportation making it difficult to steal the country’s main revenue source. The CEO said that the government now has an edge to prevent theft of oil and gas and is now better prepared to put the country on the path to full economic recovery. He said the acquisition of the anti-theft equipment was the first in the country’s history.

The Federal Government is losing a lot of money to corruption and sabotage in the Niger Delta region. On the one hand, there is no way of determining the exact production capacity of the country, seeing that the metering capacity does not cover all terminals. Additionally, oil companies default on their fines for gas flaring in the region. The activity not only wastes precious resources but also pollutes the atmosphere. The pollution contributes to climate change and global warming which global organizations such as the United Nations are working to eradicate.

Sabotage by non-state actors is a cause for concern to the government.

In the Niger Delta region, non-state actors engage in vandalizing pipelines and stealing oil for their illegal refineries. The government loses money to this avenue and the resources are also polluted. For instance, it is now very hard to know or differentiate between the impact caused by the oil spills from oil companies’ drilling operations and bunkering done by aggrieved militants. However, the sure thing is that the spills contaminated water bodies and farmlands, rendering the residents without a means of livelihood. The consequence is that the government has to deal with more unemployed citizens and invest huge amounts to clean up the region.

Related Link

HEDA Resource Centre: Website

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