Financial experts have urged the Federal Government to collapse Excess Crude Account (ECA) and 0.5 per cent of Stabilisation Fund into Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF).
They made the call yesterday at a roundtable discussions on savings and stabilisation mechanism for Nigeria, organised by Shehu Yar’Adua Foundation and Nigeria Natural Resource Charter, in Abuja.
According to them, successive administrations have not followed due process in withdrawals, and there has been no transparent and accountability in the management of the ECA.
“This is evident in the unilateral withdrawals and distributions that undermine an appraisal of ECA by statutory institutions such as Fiscal Responsibility Commission, FRC,” they said.
Former Minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, in her presentation, expressed disappointment that the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) has become a toothless commission not living up to its mandate to prosecute defaulters.
She said decline in oil price led to collapse infrastructure and public expenditure, adding that the idea of putting in place stabilisation fund was meant to give the country soft pattern of public spending.
“Oil and gas problem may not cease, Nigerians must own it and find solution to it. Citizens should take full ownership of oil problem and see how to resolve them to benefit present and future generations,” she said.
According to her, for government to maintain status quo would be dangerous and worsen the condition of the citizens. She said unemployment and underemployment would soon hit 60 percent.
Also, Prof. Andrew Onyeanakwe of University of Ibadan (UI), noted that when oil price declines in the world market, it always affects revenue sharing for the three tiers of government.
He said this development caused shock to micro-economic in the system, debts in the states, adding that what we are gaining from sale of oil and gas has not reflected in the welfare of the citizens.
In the same vein, Bode Longe, who disclosed that $168 billion had accrued to ECA between 2007 and 2017, said this account was meant for stabilisation arrangement but no clear mechanism in the management of the account.
Amara Nwankpa, who also spoke at the event, called on Nigerians to demand accountability from government on oil and gas revenue, stressing that we have a good argument for a change in management of the proceeds.
Source: G Business