Our culture doesn’t permit us to say an elderly person has lied, not to talk of someone in power. Such address seems haphazardly spurious to ethical paradigm. But expressions like “Economical with the truth” might aptly capture the mind of the above heading.
Some weeks back the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Ibe Kachikwu wrote an opinion piece on his Facebook timeline entitled: “Oil sector militancy challenges: Road map to closure” where he lamented bitterly about the possibility of Nigeria losing as much as $100 billion in oil revenues due in large part to militant activities in the oil rich Niger delta region in 2016. A situation that saw an all time low of oil production to 1.2 million barrels from 2.2 million barrels at the peak season.
Although, being a private citizen I might be handicapped in some ways in accessing certain files from the government. Even, with the shaky Freedom of Information bill implementation.
So what are the facts of the matter?
A simple knowledge of arithmetic will show that Nigeria could have lost $100 billion in revenue by producing at half of our capacity. It therefore means from the approximate 1.2 million barrels of crude we were able to produce in 2016, we were able to garner over $100 billion in sales.
Why then does the Buhari led administration keep complaining about the perennial drop of global crude oil sales? Hence, the failure of the 2016 budget to perform at optimum. Another angle is why do we need to go as far as considering borrowing $30 billion from foreign lenders?
We can’t keep making excuses for the militancy in the Niger delta, which has consistently engendered environmental degradation, loss of lives, and drop in the nation’s revenue in the heat of biting recession. But what we must do includes amongst others the revamp of our oil infrastructures, sanitizing both the Up and Downstream sectors and to ensure transparency of the NNPC in meeting up to her obligations to her partners in terms of cash call.
No one better captured this urgency than the Minister himself who stated the following observations:
“All our pipelines are old; all our gas distribution systems are old; all our depots are hardly functioning. Working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, we are going to embark on looking for third-party funds to massively begin infrastructure revamp of the assets that are required in the industry. If we do that, a lot of jobs will be created. In addition to that, we want to target specific investments in this area.”
Indeed the urgency of the petroleum industry reforms and implementation cannot be overemphasised. Also, it is imperative to note that Nigerians deserve to know the true picture of things, being the employers of those in power.
Whether the Honourable Minister was economical with the truth or not, it is imperative we stay vigilant as active citizens.