Nigeria, as the largest oil and gas producer in Africa is a major exporter of crude oil and petroleum products to the United States of America.
In 2010, Nigeria exported over one million barrels of crude oil to the United States of America, USA representing 9% of the U.S total crude oil and petroleum products imports and over 40% of Nigeria exports. However, European countries are the largest importer of Nigerian crude oil as they imported 41% of our oil import in 2015.
Nigeria’s oil and gas exports revenue fell from $82.5 billion in 2014 to $45.3 billion in 2015 due to lower oil prices.
A new audit report by Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI and released recently by its ExecutiveSecretary, Dr. Orji Ogbonnanya Orji, revealed that Nigeria earned as much as $677.9 billion between 1999 and 2016 from the sale of crude oil produced from oil fields in the Niger Delta region.
In 2012 Nigeria sold crude oil at $94.05 per barrel while in 2020 a barrel was sold at $41.96. The difference is certainly clear in black and white.
But where did all the money go?
Raising this query, the Buhari Media Organisation, BMO challenged the People’s Democratic Party, PDP to show evidence of how its administrations spent over $300bn that accrued to the country from crude oul sales between 2010 and 2015
A statement signed by BMO’s Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke averred that the NEITI report showed that Nigeria earned $418.54bn in a 10-year period from the sector, out of which more than $300bn was recorded in the 16 years of the PDP governments.
In the words of BMO, “we urge Nigerians to note that in spite of the windfall, the last PDP administration still took loans from local and international lenders and left behind a debt stock of $63bn”.
Undoubtedly, the report issued by the oil and gas watchdog is an incontrovertible proof of what President Muhammadu Buhari has always said about the period when oil was sold at an average of $100 per barrel.
Nigerians keep asking what the previous governments led by the PDP used those crude oil proceeds and the loans taken for, especially as there was little or nothing to show on infrastructure in the period up to 2015.
This is more so against the background of the numerous infrastructural development projects spread across all the nooks and crannies of the country during the last six years of the PMB administration.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it was during the oil windfall of the PDP years that a World Bank report indicated that 112 million Nigerians, about 63% of Nigerians were living under the poverty threshold of less than $1 a day. Under PMB, the figure has significantly reduced to 82.9m as at 2019 even with a higher parameter of $1.90 a day inspite of the many challenges.
“So it is safe to say that the masses did not feel the impact of the huge oil receipts of the PDP years compared to now that part of the proceeds has been committed to what the World Bank has described as the largest social welfare initiative in Sub-saharan Africa”, said BMO.
The group added that the 10-year NEITI report showed that the country made an estimated $106bn from the oil and gas sector within the first term of the Buhari administration.
“A cursory look at the annual data showed that the highest that Nigeria got from crude sales in President Buhari’s first term was $34.22bn in 2019 which is a 4.88% increase on the 2018 accruals of $32.63bn.
“We invite Nigerians to note that the combined oil receipts from 2018 and 2019 are not even up to the $68bn received in 2011 but which many are still wondering how PDP frittered it away.
It is on record that when officials of the Buhari administration say their government is doing more with less, it is in this context and especially as legacy projects, including the Lagos to Ibadan railway line, were started and completed alongside the abandoned Itakpe-Warri rail project which began 33 years ago but was completed by the incumbent administration and also the abandoned Zik Mausoleum was completed in the South East region of the country by PMB.
There is also the ongoing Second Niger Bridge, reconstruction of Abuja- Kaduna-Kano expressway, Ibadan-Kano railway line and Kano-Maradi railway line among others being pursued vigorously by the PMB administration.
President Buhari has severally reassured that he will continue to work for the good of Nigerians and deliver the “dividends of democracy” regardless of the fact that his government is challenged with daunting issues of security, economy and dwindling earnings from the sales of crude oil.
For a long time to come, Nigerians will keep asking what has happened to their $300billion, being the country’s crude oil accruals from 2010-2015 under the watch of three PDP Presidents.
An Abuja based Veteran Journalist with more than 30 years experience in active journalism, Mazi Chukwudi Enekwechi had recently observed that the PDP had “bequeathed to the people poverty and invariably unleashed insecurity that festered around the country.”
EMEKA ANYAOKU STREET, ABUJA