21 February 2017, Lagos — The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has clarified the $50-$100 billion said to have been lost to the attacks of oil and gas infrastructure by the Niger Delta militants.
In his recent monthly podcast, the minister was quoted by some media reports as saying that Nigeria lost $50-$100 billion in oil revenue at the peak of the militant attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta, which slashed oil production from 2.2 million barrels per day to one million barrels per day last year.
But in a statement yesterday, the Technical Assistant (Media) to the minister, Uche Ozurumba Adighibe, made a clarification on the $50 – $100 billion unearned income lost to militancy, which was mentioned by the minister.
Adighibe, who quoted the minister as having said in the podcast that “as at 2016 on the average and looking at it historically that we (Nigeria) was losing $50 – $100 billion as result of the disruption,” said the amount covers a period of 10 years and not 2016 only.
On the amount lost in 2016, Adighibe pointed out that the Nigeria’s oil and gas industry lost over $7 billion to militancy from January to October 2016.
“Please note the word ‘historically’. Over the last decade spanning through various administrations, the oil industry in Nigeria has suffered critical disruptions to operations resulting in the unearned incomes amounting to $50 – $100 billion due to militancy activities and vandalism. This can be verified through the records provided by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) during the 2016 Fiscal Liquidity Assessment Committee Retreat which showed that the industry lost over $7 billion due to activities of militancy groups and oil pipeline vandals from January 2016 –October 2016,” Adighibe further clarified.
The minister’s technical assistant added that the amount mentioned as unearned income due to militancy activities as stated in the podcast covers the entire industry which includes the international oil companies (IOCs), independent producers as well the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
To tackle the scourge the minister, who spoke on “Oil Sector Militancy Challenges…Roadmap to Closure,” also unveiled a 20-point agenda aimed at instituting permanent peace in the oil-producing region.
According to him, the Niger Delta crisis, coupled with the 45 percent drop in oil production, worsened the financial challenges of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Kachikwu said the crisis resulted in attacks on oil and gas facilities and the sub-optimal performance of the refineries, stressing that Nigeria was unable to meet its international obligations as a result of the militancy.
He said despite all efforts made by successive administrations to tackle the militancy in the Niger Delta, a permanent solution was never found.
The minister also stated that the present administration has also made efforts to end the crisis by launching a seven-point roadmap, engaging the oil-producing communities and sustaining the Amnesty Programme for the repentant militants.
Kachikwu added that President Buhari’s efforts to sustain the programme were being hampered by declining oil revenue, as the present administration only gets 55 percent of the revenue that was available to previous administrations.
*Ejiofor Alike – Thisday