By Rafiu Ajakaye
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – Nigeria is unable to finance its spending commitments due to attacks on pipelines in the oil-rich Niger Delta, the government said Friday.
The attacks have seen oil output cut to around 800,000 barrels a day. The 2016 budget was set at $21.5 billion on a prediction of 2.2 million barrels a day at $38 per barrel.
“Lawmakers are aware that oil barrels have dwindled to about 800,000 per day,” Government Secretary Babachir Lawal said in a briefing to lawmakers. “This has led to the inability of government to finance the budget.”
He added: “That is my statement — we cannot guarantee the implementation of constituency projects in the 2016 budget.”
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is heavily dependent on oil revenues, which account for around 70 percent of government income.
A series of attacks on oil infrastructure by the Niger Delta Avengers, who claim to be fighting for a greater share of oil wealth for local communities, has cut government revenue by half. The situation has been made worse by falling global oil prices.
Lawal said the militants’ activities had “greatly dislocated” the benchmark set by the government, adding that “challenges in implementing the budget” were forecast.