The recent announcement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that, the alleged missing $10.8 billion oil revenue was spent on pipeline repairs, fuel subsidies and reserve fuel has been condemned by the Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
Sanusi said the corporation had no right to retain the money that should have gone to the federation account,adding that the fact that the corporation admitted retaining the money is in itself bad enough and wrong, noting that the missing $10.8 billion, which is currently the subject of ongoing inter-agency reconciliation exercise, was supposed to be part of the nation’s reserves and excess crude savings.
Nigeria’s central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said the state oil company had no right to retain $10.8 billion in income, which has contributed to a drop in savings that’s left the nation exposed to possible price shocks.
“Given where the oil price is, we should have more in terms of reserves and savings, and because we don’t have that we are susceptible to shocks in the event of a decline in the oil price,” Sanusi, 52, said in a Jan. 15 interview at the central bank’s headquarters in the capital, Abuja.
A letter Sanusi wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan alleging the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. had withheld $49.8 billion in revenue sparked a public outcry when it was leaked to local newspapers last month. Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told reporters on Dec. 18 a reconciliation of the accounts showed unaccounted oil receipts stood at $10.8 billion.
“No one has the right to retain money that should have gone to the federation account, so the fact that you’ve admitted retaining, or withholding $10 billion is itself bad enough,” said Sanusi. “This money was supposed to come in and if it came in, it would be part of our reserves and part of our excess crude savings.”
Bernard Otti, the NNPC’s group executive director of finance and accounts, said on Jan. 10 the $10.8 billion was spent on pipeline repairs, fuel subsidies and reserve fuel.