Nigeria Economy Biggest Threat Is Oil Theft – House Speaker Abbas

Speaker Tajudeen Abbas of the Nigerian House of Representatives has inaugurated a special committee on oil theft to investigate the high incidence of pipeline vandalism and illegal oil offloading and theft in the country.

Chairman Abbas expressed the Tenth Congress’ determination to address this issue in his inaugural address on Wednesday, November 22.

Speaker Abbas lamented that Nigeria is losing more than 300,000 barrels of oil per day to theft, vandalism, and other criminal activities.

He said, “The serious consequences include loss of revenue, environmental destruction, threats to regional peace and security, proliferation of arms, and deterioration of the investment climate.

The industrial-scale theft has reportedly resulted in the loss of N1.29 trillion Nigerian oil revenue annually.

Nigeria is facing major fiscal challenges due to a combination of increased spending and decreased revenues, with proposed revenues of N9.73 trillion and proposed expenditures of N20.51 trillion for the year 2023.

This represents a budget deficit of N10.78 trillion Nigerian , or about 4.78% of gross domestic product (GDP). This deficit is the largest in Nigeria’s history, and since the budget is more than twice the proposed revenue, we are faced with the challenge of borrowing to fill the gap,” he added.

Abbas said it is for this reason that the House of Representatives will significantly raise the targets for all government revenue agencies.”

‘I am confident that these agencies will be able to generate much more revenue than they currently do, and in our recent discussions with the ministries on the 2024-2026 Medium-Term Fiscal Plan, we made it clear that more will be required of the major revenue agencies in 2024

‘We expect these agencies to double their total annual revenue. To accomplish this, however, these agencies must eliminate waste and, in particula, improve their revenue efficiency.

The House of Representatives will not tolerate agencies’ low performance or failure to show evidence of required transfers to the federal accounts. We will also closely monitor and strictly supervise the activities of all revenue-generating agencies to ensure compliance.

Therefore, we charge that all aspects of oil theft be investigated, focusing on the actions of all parties involved, including criminal organizations, militia groups, local residents, business employees, and security authorities

‘I urge the members of this committee to approach their duties with diligence, objectivity, a sense of urgency, and patriotism. The findings and recommendations from your work will form the basis for sustainable solutions, not stopgap measures.

I also hope that your efforts will make a significant contribution to improving the health of the petroleum sector and promoting sustainable development

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