CBN raises alarm over declining foreign reserves due to increasing oil theft

Oredola Adeola

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) urged the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) to pay critical attention to the increasing rate of oil theft which is impacting negatively on the country’s foreign reserves and the economy.

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, made this known in the communique No. 141 issued after the inaugural Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja on Monday.

EnergyDay gathered that the country is losing about $4 billion annually due to the activities of saboteurs on all crude oil facilities across the country. This was corroborated by  Austin Avuru, former MD/CEO of Seplat Energy and Mr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, whose positions on oil theft have highlighted the need for  critical intervention by FG on the activities of vandals.

Emefiele in the communique said, “The committee noted, with grave concern, the unprecedented rate of oil theft recorded in recent time and its debilitating impact on government revenue and accretion to reserves,” said the CBN Governor.

In the medium term, he said, the MPC was hopeful that the Dangote Refinery’s planned start-up later this year would assist in boosting Nigeria’s petroleum product supply.

The CBN Governor revealed that the MPC also noticed that the rising price of fuel was exacerbated by a lack of energy supplies, which had a negative impact on domestic prices.

He further said, “MPC advises the CBN management and the fiscal authorities to take specific and urgent actions to avoid many power generating stations shut-down for turn-around maintenance, resulting in the current unwarranted shut-down of generating assets,”

Emefiele however  noted that the committee also evaluated the bank’s multiple interventions to boost productivity in manufacturing, industry, agriculture, energy, and infrastructure.