The statement that the oil corporation through which the eighth-largest producer and exporter of crude oil in the world (the government of Nigeria) participates in the petroleum industry was insolvent was no doubt an oxymoron highlighting the contradiction between the company’s cash flow and how it is managed. Nonetheless, given that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) accounts for more than 70% of the government revenue and 40% of the country’s GDP, saying that it is insolvent implies that the country is most likely equally unable to discharge its financial obligations. However, this statement brought a sharp rejoinder from the company’s spokesperson to the effect that the NNPC can effectively pay for its crude and product importation obligations and has only one difficult customer: the government of Nigeria. The latter has since backtracked on the claims of the NNPC’s insolvency. Whether it was an inadvertent error or an intended pun or paradox, it has certainly dragged the reputation of the country further through the mud especially in a continent where insolvent debtors are often seen as persons that have transgressed morality and the criminal law.
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