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NIGERIA/NORWAY QUARTERLY REPORTS SHOW NIGERIA’S PROBLEMS EXCEED CORRUPTION; IT’S A LACK OF VISION

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Ngeria’s recession status was formally confirmed yesterday when the National Bureau of Statistics released its economic quarterly report for the second quarter of the year. Like most of its oil-producing counterparts around the world, Nigeria’s economy was hit hard by the global fall in oil price. The country’s second quarter GDP fell by more than 2 percent after it had fallen by 0.4 percent in the first quarter.

Norway, another oil-producing country announced its second quarterly report indicating an economic contraction in GDP like Nigeria, but that is where the comparison ends. Norway has a sovereign wealth fund, a special reserve set up decades ago to counter situations like the global fall in oil price. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund stands at $888 billion as at when its 2016 second quarterly report was released. It intends to borrow $9 billion from it to counter this global fall in oil price. A huge percent of the money in Norway’s wealth fund is gotten from oil, just as is with Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund.

In contrast to Norway’s long established wealth fund, the history of Nigeria’s wealth is relatively short. Established in 2011 after it was upgraded from the Excess Crude Account by the past administration, the wealth fund has just $1.07 billion left in it as at May 2016. To put things in perspective, Nigeria produces more oil in a day than Norway but has only $1.07 billion saved from oil revenue since 1960, owing to the mismanagement of successive governments. Even at its highest, $67 billion in 2007, Nigeria’s overall gross reserves is not up to 10 percent of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund. One might say Norway is wealthy, and not a part of OPEC, hence is not restricted by OPEC’s strict guidelines. But Abacha and Babangida’s “foreign reserves” indicates that Nigeria has just as much oil wealth.

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