Excess Crude Account: Ezekwesili, others task FG on accountability

By Energy Worth

Stakeholders, including a former Vice-President, Africa Region, World Bank, Oby Ezekwesili, on Monday, called on the Federal Government to insist on accountability and binding rules on revenue outflow from the nation’s Excess Crude Account.

They said the absence of rules of practices governing deposits, withdrawals and investment of the ECA led to Nigeria being ranked as having the most poorly governed sovereign wealth fund among 33 resource-rich countries in a 2017 report by the Natural Resource Governance Institute.

The stakeholders spoke at a roundtable meeting on savings and stabilisation mechanism for Nigeria, organised by the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation in Lagos.

According to Ezekwesili, members of the executive in the country have turned the ECA into an instrument to withdraw funds from, when in the real sense, the funds are meant to be kept safe, saved abroad and invested in human capital and world-class intuitions.

She said there was a need to develop a mechanism to bring the federal and state governments together to discuss issues that would benefit all.

Ezekwesili added that 80 per cent of state governments depended mostly on the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee for more than 80 per cent of their budgetary revenues.

“Basically, we earn oil revenue to run governance at all levels and leave development for anything the citizens can lay their hands on to survive. Many have been capped by Nigeria’s failure and the belief that they are at least better than their neighbours or colleagues, but we cannot keep living like this,” she added.

According to the former minister, the government needs to target sound policies, strong dynamic institutions and investment to develop the economy, rather than depending on oil revenue for survival.