ABUJA, Sept 16 Nigeria must get out of paying
so-called cash calls to joint ventures with oil and gas
companies to stand a chance of pulling its ailing economy out of
recession, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said on Friday.
The minister said the Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation (NNPC) had spent 110 billion naira ($360 million) on
cash calls this month, which dwarfed the country's 41 billion
naira income from oil production over the same period.
NNPC also owes several billion in back debt to oil companies
from unpaid cash calls, which oil worker unions say is stalling
the creation of jobs and investment.
"We are already working to see how we can get out of the
cash calls. And that is very fundamental to the economy,"
Adeosun told a press conference.
"We are working with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and
NNPC ... that's a long-term plan: To allow those joint ventures
to borrow money that they need rather than taking money out of
the federation account."
Sub-Saharan Africa's largest economy is trying to boost tax
revenues and the non-oil income to fund a record $30 billion
2016 budget aimed at reviving the West African country that has
been hit by lower oil prices.
Adeosun told Reuters in April the government was thinking of
forcing the cash calls, which are for international and local
joint venture partners, out of budget funding and into so-called
modified carrier arrangements.
Modified carry agreements are loans provided by large
international oil companies to the NNPC for investing in oil
exploration and production projects.
($1 = 306.0000 naira)
(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; writing by Libby George; editing
by David Clarke)