Former President Goodluck Jonathan has revealed how $20 billion in the excess crude oil revenue account he inherited at the inception of his administration was reduced to about $2 billion when he left office on May 29, 2015. During an interview programme with Bloomberg TV, Jonathan pointed accusing fingers at state governors who he said forced the federal government to withdraw from the reserve fund to augment revenue allocations from the federation account.
“At any time the earnings (from oil) dropped, the governors would insist that there is no place in our laws that actually say that the Federal Government should keep the reserve,” Jonathan said. “They always insisted that a part of it (excess crude revenue account) should be brought.” He said there was a misconception about the excess crude account, pointing out that while some felt it was a reserve fund for the rainy day, others said it was fund that could be drawn from in times of economic difficulty.
“Yes, it is also part of our own reserves. But, when I was there, I tried to make a special fund called a Sovereign Wealth Fund, so that it would not be easy for one to take from there,” the former president said. On the diversification of the economy away from oil, the former president said his administration did “very well”, particularly in encouraging manufacturing and industrialization as well as agricultural development, which he said got to its peak within the five years he was in power. He spoke of the agriculture transformation agenda of his administration, which he described as not only the best since the history of the country, but also one that received global acclaim.