Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday blamed the current economic recession in the country on the militancy in the Niger Delta region.
The Niger Delta Avengers and other militants have been bombing oil and power installations in the region.
Speaking at the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum at the State House, Abuja, Osinbajo said the bombings had more adverse impact on the 2016 Budget and the economy than the low prices of oil in the international market.
According to him, the 2016 Budget had properly anticipated the low oil price, but didn’t expect the drop in oil production caused by the bombings.
He said Nigeria, whose budgetary expenditure was predicated on a daily crude oil production of 2.2 million barrels per daily, was producing less than 1.1 million barrels per day owing to the nefarious activities of the militants.
He said, “Perhaps it is important for us to understand the nature of this recession in which we have found ourselves. In discussing this issue of recession there is tendency for people to generalize. A lot depends on what sort of recession and how we got here.
“If we did not have vandalisation in the Niger Delta as we are currently suffering, we will not have this recession today. Moreover in looking at the solutions, we should try to focus on the type of problem we have and what instigated it. Then we can begin to come up with better solutions.”
But rather than analysing how Nigeria came about the problems, he noted that some Nigerians were busy criticising the Federal Government.
Speaking at the same event, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, listed seven key implementation strategies to boost the petroleum industry and enable export of refined products by 2019.
Represented by the Senior Technical Adviser in the ministry, Johnson Awoyemi, Kachikwu said peace and security in the Niger Delta region is crucial to the programme.
He also mentioned policy and regulation, business environment and investment drive, transparency and efficiency, stakeholder management and international coordination as primary concerns of the ministry.
The others, he said, were engaging in gas revolution as well as increasing refineries and local production capacity.
“Oil and gas will drive diversification but the drop in oil production to 1.56 billion barrels per day from the annual estimate of 2.2 billion barrels per day will negatively affect growth,” NAN quoted Kachikwu as saying at the forum.
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