According to fresh statistics from Nigeria’s civic tech organization, BudgIT, it has revealed that a total of $107 billion was withdrawn from Excess Crude Account (ECA) between 2004 and 2018.
The statistics which were posted on the organisation’s official Twitter handle showed that the withdrawals were done between January 2004 and April 2018.
This indicates that the country’s money reserve suffered depletion from the second tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo through President Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and under the current government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The ECA was created in 2004 to save revenues generated the sale of oil that exceeded budgetary benchmark. It primary aim was to protect Nigeria’s planned budgets against shortfalls caused by the volatility of crude oil prices thereby insulating the economy from external economic shocks.
More shocking from Budgit’s statistics was the revelation that the ECA nosedived from a whopping $20billion in January 2009 to $4.56billion in January 2011 covering Yar’Adua’s and Jonathan’s tenure.
According to a short story on ECA balance shared by Budgit, the account had $9.43b in June 2007, $20b in January 2009, $4.56b by January 2011, $8.65b in December 2012, $4.3b in November 2013, $2.45b by December 2014 and $2.07b in May 2015.
It further showed that the balance was $2.36b in April 2016, $631 million in December 2018 and $324 million in October 2019.
“Balances were not provided in an even structure. We picked based on findings but it represents the trend,” it said.
However, online search by newsmen showed that the ECA balance was $4.39billion in May 2010 when Jonathan took over as substantive President following the death of Yar’Adua on May 5.
This revelation might have punctured allegations by former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Lamido Sanusi that over $20b went missing from the ECA under Jonathan.
From available data, the ECA suffered worse depletion in the last months Yar’Adua with $15.6 billion withdrawn between January 2009 and May 2010 when Jonathan assumed office.
Although it was recorded that Yar’Adua had removed money from the account as bailouts for states at the heart of the recession, there are speculations that the Cabal which hijacked power after the President became ill and eventually left for medicare in Saudi Arabia on November 23, 2009, might have milked the nation within that window.
Recall that then Information Minister late Prof. Dora Akunyili had raised alarm about a cabal comprising some northern governors and those in the kitchen cabinet of President Yar’Adua hijacking governance.