Vanguard (Lagos)

10 November 2012

Nigeria: Oil Subsidy Scam - Fashola Slams Presidency

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state, yesterday, blamed the presidency over the delay in the investigation of oil subsidy scandal, saying that the investigation into the scandal should have come earlier.

Meantime, Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and the Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economics, Oxford University, Prof. Paul Collier tasked the Federal Government to adopt the Rwanda system of government administration.

Fashola who made the remarks at the two-day Kuramo Conference, 2012 themed: 'The Global Common Wealth' held in Lagos, said that the executive failed to do its job on the fuel subsidy scandal.

He stressed that the legislature should not have been the first to look at the report but rather, the executive has the responsibility to conduct investigation on the scandal.

According to him, "This is because the executive has the responsibility for law enforcement in Nigeria. And anyone found to be implicated during the investigation should have been dismissed immediately. That was why I said that any public office holder that abuses his office should face severe punishment that is available by law."

From left: Prof. Paul Collier, Plenary Speaker, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Chairman, The Kuramo Conference 2012, Gov. Babatunde Fashola of Lagos state, Conference Convenr and Dr. Dambisa Moyo, Plenary Speaker, during the Kuramo Conference Lagos 2012, held at Eko Hotel, Lagos. Photo: Bunmi Azeez

The governor emphasised that the oil sector was the most vulnerable sector of the country's economy, adding, "it is where the major source of revenue of the country comes from."

On Trade, Fashola advised African countries to engage themselves more in trade in order to fast track the development and prosperity of the continent.

He said that the continent needed to look inwards for answers to some of her economic challenges.

The governor observed that most African countries preferred doing business with the West and Asia, saying the situation had not really helped the economic development of the continent.

Speaking earlier, Collier said that the Federal Government has a huge challenge in managing the country's oil sector effectively, adding "there are three features lacking in the management of oil sector in the country."

Soyinka, who chaired the conference, said the downturn in the economies of a number of developed countries should serve as an opportunity for Africa to develop her economy.

He urged leaders address some of the factors responsible for the economic woes over the years, and begin to reposition the continent for greatness.

Soyinka said if China was able to transform her economy to the second largest in the world in a decade, it was possible for Africa to do the same.

Speaking earlier, Collier said that the Federal Government has a huge challenge in managing the country's oil sector effectively, adding "there are three features lacking in the management of oil sector in the country."

Collier explained that the three features which would make the management of the oil sector effective in the country are its rules, institutions and the students.

According to him, "It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to generate the rules and the institution. The rules and institutions are just written on paper, without the critical mass, the citizens understanding the issues, the rules and institutions are dead."

Collier explained that the three features which would make the management of the oil sector effective in the country are its rules, institutions and the students.

According to him, "It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to generate the rules and the institution. The rules and institutions are just written on paper, without the critical mass, the citizens understanding the issues, the rules and institutions are dead.

"Why don't we promote the United States of Africa in Trade? Why don't we support the idea of an Afro-zone?

"The integration of Africa in trade will no doubt impact positively on the economies of African countries. This is what we should be thinking about. It is good for our collective prosperity," he said.

Fashola said Africa was strategic to global economic development, saying the natural and human resources had over years been used to drive the development of western economies.

The governor said it was time for Africa to exploit her resources to develop herself, charging leaders to create the right atmosphere for development to take place in the continent.

Soyinka, who chaired the conference, said the downturn in the economies of a number of developed countries should serve as an opportunity for Africa to develop her economy.

He urged leaders address some of the factors responsible for the economic woes over the years, and begin to reposition the continent for greatness.

Soyinka said if China was able to transform her economy to the second largest in the world in a decade, it was possible for Africa to do the same.

Speaking earlier, Collier said that the Federal Government has a huge challenge in managing the country's oil sector effectively, adding "there are three features lacking in the management of oil sector in the country."

Collier explained that the three features which would make the management of the oil sector effective in the country are its rules, institutions and the students.

According to him, "It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to generate the rules and the institution. The rules and institutions are just written on paper, without the critical mass, the citizens understanding the issues, the rules and institutions are dead."

"The country's oil is a natural resource that belongs not only to this generation but also to the future. If this generation chooses to deplete, it has an obligation to put in place other assets, hopefully more productive than oil itself, which the next generation can then use to generate wealth."

"That is the responsibility of this generation, particularly the present decision makers. Past generation of Nigerian decision makers did not honour that responsibility. That explains why you are not yet prosperous in the oil market."

"So is the challenge facing this generation not to make those same mistakes. There are millions of young Nigerians looking to the decision of the present leadership to honour that responsibility. And they won't keep quiet if they don't do it."

"Secondly, oil prices are like wild in the tiger .You must have to look at the price of crude oil in the last few years; it has been down to 37dollars a barrel to 147. So revenue to Nigeria has been extremely volatile."

On the system of Rwanda system of Government

They argued that the present Rwanda system of government has helped the country reduce it annual expenses.

They explained that the system of government does not allow the government to spend tax payer's money on purchasing official vehicles for government officials.

Also speaking, Dr. Dambisa Moyo,an economist regretted that Africa with over one billion people about half of the global population controlled only two percent of the global economy.

She implored African leaders to begin to look for creative ways of solving the continent's age long challenges, saying corruption had to be confronted frontally if Africa must move forward.

Mr Babjide Ogundipe, the President of the court, said the sitting of the court in the Nigeria ,particularly Lagos would enhance country's investment climate and fast track adjudication of commercial disputes.

He stated that the Lagos Court of Arbitration which seeks to intervene in business and contractual disputes in the West African sub-region was also inaugurated at the conference.

The Lagos Kuramo conference is a biennial international summit of multi-disciplinary experts and knowledge aimed at covering emerging legal and economic issues tailored to address advocacy and policy required for shaping governmental decision making

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