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How OBJ, Yar’Adua, Jonathan spent N70trn in 16 yrs —NEITI

The  Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Mr Waziri Adio, on Tuesday, disclosed that over N70 trillion earnings from the sale of oil and gas was spent between 1999 and 2014 on non critical sector.

Speaking with the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs, which visited him in his office during an oversight, he said  unless Nigeria developed a prudent way of spending, the country might be in for very rough times in the coming years.

According to him,  “let me inform the committee that we discovered that between 1999 and 2014, the country spent over N70 trillion it received from the sales of oil and gas alone. That is a whole lot of money. And what is sad about it is that it was spent without the country being able to show anything for it. I think it is quite unfortunate.

“For the sake of emphasis, however, I think if previous administrations had developed a culture for prudent management of resources, Nigeria ought to have saved over $100 billion  in the excess crude account. So, going forward, it is necessary for government to think about saving a lot more, and doing all it can as well  to cut down on wasteful spending if the nation must make progress.”

He added that Nigeria, in the last eight years, had lost over $200 billion which it could have earned from the exploration  and sales of mineral deposits found in several states of the federation, but which was neglected.

He also decried the unavailability of funds owing to late releases by the Ministry of Finance, informing the committees that same was responsible for the inability of the agency to conclude work on its audit report to the world body.

The vice-chairman of the  committee, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, said the committee would require the effort of NEITI to close the communication gap between the agency and the upper chamber, with a view to ensuring effective collaboration.

He informed that NEITI was the second agency among all government agencies that had not got its capital releases adequately met by the Federal Government, describing the development as a misnomer.