The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2023 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has reiterated his promise to ensure the full privatisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) if elected.
Telescope.ng reports that the former vice president who spoke with News Central, an online television station, explained that as it is, although the Muhammadu Buhari administration has said it has commercialised the NNPCL, all its shares are still being fully held by the government.
Atiku insisted that until the ownership of the national oil firm is diluted and the NNPCL has its shares traded on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, it will continue to be mismanaged.
He stated that he had always believed that the oil sector has to be privatised because it’s the best way to get the best out of it, insisting that it was not the responsibility of the government to manage the country’s oil and gas.
He said: “You can compare the Nigeria LNG project which we are in partnership with the private sector and see the returns we get compared with the NNPC which is solely run by the government.
“First of all, there’s a lot of corruption there. Definitely, it is better to privatise. Before the election, I advocated the privatisation of the NNPC. They accused me of wanting to give it to my friends, only for them now to turn around to say they are privatising.
“Of course, they have set up the structures but they have not done the actual privatisation because they have not gone to the stock market. Up till now, all the shares are being held by the NNPC and nobody has any shares there. So, in theory, they have announced that they are privatising but that has not been implemented.”
Atiku explained that as a developing country, experience and competence remain key elements in leadership, maintaining that the country cannot be handed over to rookies.
He added: “Nigeria has tremendous challenges and it’s quite diverse and you can’t hand over such a country to untested leadership.”
He stated that part of Nigeria’s biggest problems remained a lack of continuity in government policies, noting that there’s always the tendency to reverse achievements recorded by the previous administration.
He argued that for continuity’s sake, some of the policies should be legislated so as to prevent a reversal of fortunes for a developing country like Nigeria.
Atiku noted that a lot of things were encouraging insecurity in the country, including unemployment and a dysfunctional education system where funds deployed to states and local governments are misappropriated.
He expressed worry over the out-of-school children all over the country, expressing frustration that the states and local councils were not doing enough to reverse the trend.