It would be recalled that the Federal Government sought the approval of the Senate, last April, to borrow the sum of US$5.424 billion as â€œan outstanding 2010 external borrowing planâ€. Upon a critical deliberation on the request the Senate approved the sum of US$915 million only. But by a letter dated August 10, 2010 the Federal Government has renewed its request for the remaining sum of US$4.427.91. In justifying the loan President Goodluck Jonathan assured the Senate that the Finance Minister has been directed â€œto effectively monitor the various projects to ensure that the funds are judiciously utilized and that there is value for moneyâ€.
In urging the Senate to reject the request for jumbo loan by the Federal Government we wish to draw the attention of the Senate to the fact that the Excess Crude Account has been drawn to US$460 million from the sum of US$20 billion left by the Olusegun Obasanjo Administration in May 2007. Up till now the Federal Government has not explained what it did with the lion share of the fund allocated to it.
In addition to the gross mismanagement of the Excess Crude Account it has just been disclosed by Honourable Oladimeji Bankole that the sum of US$5 billion earned from liquefied natural gas in the last 10 years has not been recorded in the Federation Account. In the same vein, the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation alleged that the sum of N1.7 billion was given out to undisclosed corporate bodies and individuals on the instructions of some unnamed former Heads of State!
It may also interest the Senate to note that the colossal sums of money which have not been paid into the Federation Account include the following:
1.Â Â Â US$2009.52 being backlog of accrued Signature Bonus
2.Â Â Â N155 billion which accrued from sales of Federal Government properties
3.Â Â Â N511 billion being privatization proceeds from 2004 â€“ 2007
4.Â Â Â N119 Billion being the accrued amount from Education Tax
5.Â Â Â N263 Billion revenue generated by Federal Government parastatals
The grand mismanagement of the national economy has also been demonstrated in the renewal of oil licences to foreign oil companies operating in Nigeria. For instance, the Federal Government renewed some oil licences for ExxonMobil in the sum of US$600 million whereas a Chinese company had offered US$5 billion for the same licences. Thus, the country lost a whopping sum of US$4.4 billion in that single transaction.
In the light of the foregoing, the Senate will agree with us that the Nigerian economy has not been managed in the interest of the Nigerian people. Instead of allowing the Federal Government to further mortgage the sovereignty of Nigeria to foreign creditors, the Senate should set up a committee to trace the missing trillions of Naira from the Federation Account since May 1999. It is our belief that if the Federation Account is strictly funded in line with Section 162 of the Constitution, there will be no justification for seeking foreign loans by any tier of the government.
â€”Femi Falana (Chairman, National Conscience Party)