The Nigerian government withdrew $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fund security amid depleting oil revenue, an official said on Wednesday.
Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, made this revelation while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the cabinet meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday.
Mrs Ahmed’s intervention comes amid concerns raised by the reduction in the balance of the ECA.
Reports said Tuesday that the balance in account fell significantly from $35.7 million it was as of June 2022 to $376,655.09 as at July 25, 2022.
Reuters said the nation’s accountant general released the figures late on Tuesday but did not give a reason for the steep drop.
On Wednesday, Mrs Ahmed said the volatility in the global oil market accounted for the drop in the ECA balance.
“On the issue of the excess crude account, in the past four years, because of volatility in the oil market, we have not had accrual to the excess crude account,” she said.
“So, what we have had has been gradually used up for different purposes and it is always used in consultation with the National Economic Council that is the governors because this is a federation account.
“The last approval that was given by the council was the withdrawal of $1 billion to enhance security. We have been utilizing that and the last tranch of that has been finally released because deployment to security agencies are based on the contracts that are executed and it’s been used strictly for that security purpose. So, the utilization of the account is with the full knowledge of the Governors.”