Despite the huge resources earned from petroleum, the country has nothing concrete to show. Nigeria is still besieged with inadequate infrastructure, epileptic power situation, low foreign exchange reserves, low savings and an abysmally low standard of living.
Data compiled from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, showed that Nigeria earned N77.348 trillion from the oil and gas industry from 1999 to 2016.
Analysis of the various oil and gas earnings showed that the country recorded gross oil revenue of N77.348 trillion over the 17-year period (1999 to 2016) while after various deductions, net oil revenue over the same period stood at N41.038 trillion.
The net oil revenue over the 17-month period would have helped increased Nigeria’s electricity supply by 16,800 megawatts, thereby ending Nigeria’s power woes. In particular, the Zungeru power project, with a proposed capacity of 700 megawatts (MW) is been constructed a project cost of $1.3 billion, about N468 billion, using current exchange realities.
At the same amount, N468 billion each, Nigeria could have used N11.232 trillion to build about 24 power plants of similar specifications; four in each of the six geopolitical zones. Other funds would also be utilized to boost the country’s transmission facility and other arms of the electricity value chain.
The net oil earnings would have also financed the Second Niger Bridge, valued at N108 billion; the Lokoja – Benin expressway rehabilitation, valued at about N65 billion; the Lagos-Ibadan rail project valued at N535.68 billion ($1.3 billion); and the Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna-Kaduna-Kano rail line, valued at N2.196 trillion ($6.1 billion). The fund would have also been used to set up a national air carrier for the country.
The fund could have also financed the three seaports proposed by the Federal Government, valued at $6 billion (N2.16 trillion); and would have been used to build hospitals to improve the provision of healthcare services and contributed to the development of the education sector among others.
Today, instead of growing the economy, Nigeria’s debt profile as at March 2017, stands at N19.16; the naira is currently exchanged at N360 to one dollar; electricity supply is hovering around 3,500 megawatts; refining capacity as at May 2017 is put at 106,667 barrels for the three refineries combined.
Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, Mr. Waziri Adio, lamented that in spite of these benefits and the huge revenues that have accrued from oil and gas over the years, Nigeria has one of the lowest natural resource revenue savings in the world.
He said the absence of sufficient savings left Nigeria severely exposed when the price of oil, Nigeria’s main source of government revenues and foreign exchange, started to plunge in 2014.
Speaking in the same vein, Executive Secretary of the Centre for Social Justice, CSJ, Mr. Eze Onyekpere, said Nigeria was currently at a cross road and needs to take effective decisions on its next fiscal and economic steps.
According to him, the petro dollar boom is over as commodity prices have collapsed, adding that hard choices need to be made on how to expend the little available resources and new sources of generating revenue.