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Buhari Administration - First 100 Days

 

Kachikwu's appointment as new NNPC Head demonstrates Buhari's anti-corruption resolve -  16th August 2015

President Muhammadu Buhari's appointment of a Harvard-educated lawyer to run the state oil company demonstrates his anti-corruption resolve -- but only marks the start of a long reform journey, analysts say.

Industry observers note the formidable challenge he faces in sanitising a sector that accounts for 70 percent of the country's revenue, but which is notorious for mismanagement and rampant theft.

Buhari took office May 29 after being elected on an anti-graft ticket, pledging to recover "mind-boggling" amounts of stolen oil money and bring those responsible to book.

In early August he appointed Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, a former executive vice-chairman of Exxon-Mobil Africa, to head the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) after sacking the entire board.

Speaking to journalists in the capital Abuja Thursday, Kachikwu fired an opening salvo, promising to uproot NNPC's "anything goes" culture and warning under-performing employees will lose their jobs.

"At the end of the day, NNPC isn't a public service, it is a corporation and it is going to be run like a company, generating money and profit for Nigerians," Kachikwu vowed.

John Campbell, a senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, told AFP success in combating corruption within the oil industry would require "a revolution in governance."

He welcomed the appointment of Kachikwu, a manager with decades of private sector experience, as a clear signal of the president's reform agenda which "fits the pattern of Buhari appointing technocrats based on merit."

Buhari was the oil minister responsible for the launch of the NNPC in 1977, now a joint venture with 24,000 workers between the government and multinational corporations including ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Royal Dutch Shell .

Buhari has accused the previous administration of Goodluck Jonathan of leaving the treasury "virtually empty," and is struggling to reinvigorate an oil-dependent economy weakened by the halving of crude prices since 2014.

He has ordered a review of oil-swap contracts, alleging 250,000 barrels of crude a day were stolen during the previous regime, with the profits going into individual bank accounts

 

Buhari "Treasury Left virtually empty" - Tuesday 23rd June 2015

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday slammed the state of the country's finances, claiming his predecessor had left Africa's biggest economy deep in debt and the treasury "virtually empty".

There are high expectations that Buhari, who defeated Goodluck Jonathan in March elections, will turn around Nigeria's fortunes, with the country riddled with corruption and the crude-dependent economy reeling from global oil shocks.

But the 72-year-old, elected on a promise of cleaning up Nigeria's dirty politics and ending Boko Haram's Islamist insurgency, indicated the funds to deliver were not immediately available to do so.

"I hope we are starting and this culture of 100 days (in power) is bringing so much pressure, with (the) treasury virtually empty, with debts in millions of dollars, with state workers and even federal workers not paid their salaries," he told reporters in Abuja.

The former military ruler, whose 20-month tenure in the 1980s was characterised by a war against graft and "indiscipline", described the situation as "a disgrace for Nigeria" and warned people could take to the streets if nothing was done.

Nigeria, which is Africa's leading oil producer and dependent on crude for a massive 90 percent of foreign earnings, was already feeling the effect of the halving of global oil prices from mid-2014 even before Buhari took over.

Squeezed government revenues forced this year's budget to be revised and federal projects scrapped or halted while state employees have gone months without being paid.

In the week he took office on May 29, the country virtually ground to a halt because of fuel shortages linked to alleged government defaults on subsidy payments to fuel importers.

At the same time, electricity production plunged to a record low of just over 1,000 megawatts -- woefully short of the amount of power required for Nigeria's 173 million people.

Buhari described the economic situation he inherited as rank "bad management", without giving specific figures.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had estimated the country's debts stood at some $60 billion on the handover of power three weeks ago.

Former finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has rejected the claim -- amid indications since the figure could be even higher -- saying the debt was much lower and most of it was incurred by states, rather than the federal government.