President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed some dubious practices of some cabals in Nigeria, especially the oil sector that led to the scarcity of the major foreign exchange currency, the United State Dollars.
The President in a no-holds-barred interview to mark his one as democratically elected President of Nigeria, published by the Nations Newspaper said some peoples, which most of us Nigerians called 'cabals' are just buying the dollars and taking the money outside the country.
When an interviewer quizzed the president on how would Nigerians feel the impact of the 2016 budget, considering the new challenges be faced, ranging from oil production drop due to the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta, decline from taxes and so on, he said;
"That is a major challenge for us. It is not going to be easy to complement the revenue as we promised in the budget. I think I mentioned initially that the market plummeted from an average of $100 per barrel for crude oil from 1999 to 2014, and suddenly went down to $30 per barrel and now it is between $40 and $50 per barrel."
"I was constrained to approach the Governor of the Central Bank to find out how we spend our foreign exchange. When he went and checked the records, he found out mostly food bills such as wheat, rice, flour, bread and toothpicks. Nigerians are so sophisticated that they use only Chinese toothpicks! I was shocked. I didn’t believe it and I still don’t believe it because I think if we can sit down, reflect and try to be fair to Nigerians, people from the east, west and north…60 percent of them eat what they grow; be it either garri, yam or grains. I know they also spend money on cooking oil."
"So who is taking all the billions of dollars in terms of foreign food imports? What is happening is that people are just buying dollars and taking the money outside the country. My belief was strengthened when the price of oil fell and the marketers were insisting that they want foreign exchange to import fuel. We tried to conduct a survey and we found out that one-third of what they were claiming was fraudulent. They just stamped papers and claimed the money."
"There have been so many pronouncements by your government that once the budget is passed and assented by you, that we would see progress on the economy. But even the budget assumptions today are threatened, that is from where you expect to get your revenue to implement your projects and even the N500 million needed for the palliatives. Oil production has dropped to almost half due to militancy; even revenue coming from taxes is declining. How are you going to assure Nigerians that this budget which the government is hinging its programmes on, is going to be implemented in such a way that it trickles down to the masses?"