The Federal Government has announced that Nigeria’s “Excess Crude Account (ECA) balance as at 20th January 2021 is $72,411,197.80.” “Yes, $72 million. In Feb 2014, that number was $3.6 billion and as at August 2015, it was $2.2 billion. Simply, we have blown the “saving” from crude oil in less than a decade,” says Prof. Ekekwe.
Other updates at the NEC meeting include account balances as at 20th January, 2020 given by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, as follows:
Excess Crude Account (ECA), balance as at 20th January, 2021, $72,411,197.80; Stabilization Account, balance as at 19th January, 2021, N28, 800, 711,295.37; Natural Resources Development Fund Account, balance as at 19th January 2021, N95, 830,729,470.82.
“My position which I put forward in my speech in the National Assembly in 2019 remains: put 50% of the fund into accredited local venture capital firms who must invest at parity of 50-50 in Nigerian companies. Those VC firms must have independent investment boards from SEC, CBN, BOI and private sector. Under no scenario should ECA be used to cover the cost of bureaucracy. Had we done that, we might have stimulated the economy and built the foundation for new growth drivers,” says Ndubuisi Ekekwe.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N6.45 billion for the setting up of gas plants in 38 locations nationwide in a bid to enhance the treatment of Covid-19 patients who need oxygen. That is a commendable one as many lives have been wasted due to the lack of this basic tool. Yet, it would have been better if they had gone through the private sector instead of doing it directly as a government.
Prof. Ndubuisi Ekekwe further stated, “Nigeria should STOP building things because we spend N10 billion to build, and in 3 years, we “privatize” for N1 billion. Haba!
“That is the reason why I am not celebrating the inauguration of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre (NOGEC) Lagos, which is aimed at strengthening Nigeria’s position as a regional leader in the oil and gas industry. It would have been great if they established it inside a university instead of the Lagos Annex of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). Personally, it is either we want to have universities or not. Yes, you cannot be funding AI & robotics centers in NITDA when such could not be put inside universities, limiting the need to expand national bureaucracy.
“Of course, you can argue that the government had no option since schools now strike all the time. Sure but funding centers this way will not fix the long-time paralysis”.
Ndubuisi Ekekwe, PhD, Chairman of FASMICRO Group, is the Lead Faculty in Tekedia Mini-MBA. He writes regularly in the Harvard Business Review.