Nigeria’s Buhari expresses worry over never-ending incidents of oil theft
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, who also doubles as Minister of Petroleum Resources, has voiced his frustrations over incidents of oil theft, which he said have affected government revenue.
President stated this in response to government workers who asked for a pay increase amid soaring inflation.
According to the president, Nigeria cannot afford a salary review now because it was too broke and unable to earn more due to oil theft.
“On your request for a salary review, I wish to urge you to appreciate the revenue constraints being presently faced by government which are caused mainly by the activities of unscrupulous citizens through the theft of our crude oil, a major contributor to our revenue base,” he said according to Reuters.
As you may know, Nigeria earns most of its foreign exchange through oil exports. Unfortunately, endless cases of oil theft mean that less money is getting into government coffers.
The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) recently disclosed that the country lost $1 billion to oil theft in Q1 2022 alone.
Note that the oil theft problem is so serious that between October 2021 and February this year, oil companies in Nigeria lost as much as 95% of all the crude volumes transported through the heavily-vandalised Trans Niger Pipeline.
Last month, the Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd, Mr Osagie Okunbor, described oil theft as an existential threat to oil companies in Nigeria. Other notable stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas sector have also voiced their frustrations over the issue.
Recent efforts by the Nigerian Government have yielded little or no result towards solving what is arguably the most chronic problem affecting oil companies in Africa’s largest oil-producing nation.