Nigerian Governors Demand $1 Billion From Crude Account

Nigeria’s 36 state governors want a $1 billion payout from the country’s crude oil savings account to fund projects, said Sokoto state Deputy Governor Mukhtar Shagari.

The governors want the federal government to disburse “at least about $1 billion from the excess crude account to help the state governments to meet up with their financial responsibilities as the year is coming to an end, because most of the states have contracts that are ongoing and are very important to the people of this country,” Shagari, who spoke on behalf of the governors, said today in an e-mailed statement from Abuja, the capital.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, relies on crude exports for about 95 percent of its foreign-currency earnings and 80 percent of government revenue. The West African country with more than 160 million people saves oil revenue above the benchmark budgeted price in the excess crude account. Its balance stands at $9 billion, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said on Dec 3.

While a lawsuit filed by the states challenging the federal government’s use of the account’s funds will continue, the governors will continue to hold talks with the government and hope that “perhaps, we may come to some decisions along the way,” Shagari said.

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