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Rising oil theft, the insurgency in the North and fuel subsidy fraud make it hard for the government to survive unless it agrees to hard-hitting reforms

So far, those blocking reform are winning hands down in the running battles with reformers in the government. Yet their victory could prove to be a hollow one if they bankrupt the Treasury in the process. As President Goodluck Jonathan prepares to read the 2013 budget in the National Assembly on 11 October, which estimates state spending of 4,929 billion naira (US$31.11 bn.), some economists in Nigeria question whether its targets are achievable without massive foreign borrowing.

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Goodluck Jonathan, Lamido Sanusi, Diezani Allison-Madueke, Reformers outmanoeuvred, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, •, Abraham Nwankwo, Olusoji Akinola, Herbert Ajayi