The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, will not appoint a new minister of Petroleum, stated Reuters.
Buhari, whose political campaign was largely against corruption in the government and oil industry, said that his office would retain the role until further notice.
“I intend to remain the minister of petroleum resources,” Buhari said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
Buhari is no newcomer to the oil industry. He served as Oil Minister in the 1970’s and as head of the Petroleum Trust Fund in the 1990’s.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian state is facing a massive budget shortfall as oil prices remain depressed. The country relies on oil for over 70% of the government budget. To balance the $22b expense, Nigeria needs oil to be trading above $65 per barrel, far higher than the $40-$45 seen currently, reported Bloomberg
“If we allow the militants to ruin all our petroleum installations, blow up the pipelines, blow up the refineries and so on, if we don’t get the money from other sources, we cannot prosecute the war against insurgencies,” Buhari stated. “Somehow Nigeria has to survive.”