• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Bad economic management robs Nigeria of benefit from massive oil windfall

Rising appetite for oil for cash loans traps Nigeria’s next-generation

Nigeria’s national energy company spent almost two-thirds of its revenue subsidizing gasoline in the first quarter of the year and contributed no money to the government despite soaring oil prices, according to Bloomberg.

Many of the country’s economists and business leaders have called the overbearing focus on maintaining a costly petrol subsidy regime a show of bad economic management by the government.

Data published by the Nigerian National Petroleum Co. show how high oil prices are weighing down rather than boosting public finances in Africa’s largest crude producer.

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund have repeatedly urged Nigeria’s government to remove the subsidy on gasoline, which is forecast to cost the country as much as $9.6 billion this year.

Nigeria has very little refining capacity, prompting the NNPC to import all its gasoline via crude-for-fuel swaps with local and international traders, which the company sells at an increasingly steep loss to retailers and wholesalers. That makes pump prices in Nigeria among the lowest in the world, at 162.5 naira a liter.

Read also: Despite energy transition concerns, NNPC intensifies oil search in the north

The state-owned group is supposed to send excess funds each month to a pool that finances the federal and state governments in Africa’s most populous nation.

The NNPC last year contributed about 15% of its gross revenue of 3.43 trillion naira to the fund, according to company data.

The firm says it spent 1.43 trillion naira subsidizing gasoline in 2021 — it is on track to nearly double that figure this year.

Nigeria has so far been unable to take advantage of the increase in the price of crude, which has surged since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Brent crude was up 1.6% at $112.7 a barrel at 12 p.m. in London.

The country’s production has consistently fallen well short of the limits set by OPEC+, which currently stands at 1.735 million barrels a day.

A spokesman for the NNPC didn’t respond to a request for comment.