Osinbajo tackles Obasanjo, IBB, Jonathan over oil cash

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VICE-President Yemi Osinbajo has spoken again on how huge funds went down the drain in previous administrations, which earned much and invested little in infrastructure.

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Prof. Osinbajo, who rejected the seemingly popular notion that Nigeria’s problem could be solved by restructuring, said only prudent management of resources could save Nigeria.

He was answering questions from Nigerians at a town hall meeting in Minnesota, United States on Sunday, according to a statement issued yesterday by his media aide, Laolu Akande.

On OPEC statistics on oil revenues accruable to Nigeria under successive administrations between 1990 and 2014, the Vice President said not much had been done in terms of infrastructure, despite the huge oil revenues.

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He said: “Under the IBB / Abacha administrations (1990 – 1998) Nigeria realised$199.8 billion; under the Obasanjo / Yar’Adua governments (1999 – 2009), the country got $401.1 billion; and during the Jonathan administration (2010 – 2014), Nigeria got $381.9 billion from oil revenues.

“The question that we must all ask is, what exactly happened to resources? The question that I asked is that where is the infrastructure?

“One of the critical things that we must bear in mind and see is that this government, despite earning $94 billion, up until 2017, we are spending more on infrastructure and capital than any previous governments; so we are spending N1.5 trillion on capital; that is the highest we have spent since 1990,” he said.

On concerns over recovered funds, the Vice President said the Buhari administration was committed to a transparent use of the funds in providing infrastructure.

He said: “What we are doing with the proceeds of corruption is making it a line in the budget so that it can be accounted for properly; it is not a special fund somewhere that is just being used in any way, but as a single line in the budget for infrastructure, which is our major spend.”

On agriculture, Osinbajo said the target was to attain self-sufficiency in the production of rice, tomato and other cash crops.

He said “We are doing a lot of work in agriculture. Take rice, for instance, we are doing a lot in rice production and we have increased local production such that we are no longer spending $5 million daily on rice import.

“Today, we are doing 11 million metric tons of paddy rice and are now importing only 2 per cent of what we used to import.”

On Nigeria’s rise on the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, he said though the challenges were daunting, the government was committed to going beyond the 24 places it moved up to in the last rankings.

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