Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, has reaffirmed its commitment towards ensuring that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is privatized for better efficiency if voted into power.
During an interactive session with the business community in Lagos on Wednesday, the former vice president said despite the challenges, he would privatize the corporation, even at the expense of his life.
“I am committed to privatizing the NNPC. Even if they are going to kill me, I will do it. There is really a mafia in there, people who benefit personally at the expense of the country. But I have the political will and courage to do it. We don’t intend to privatize the whole of NNPC, but reduce the government’s interest to a minority and allow the private sector to drive the oil and gas industry.”
Atiku said he was convinced that the NNPC would run better if not managed by the government.
The former Vice President said, “I asked a Nigerian professor based in America; I said, ‘Prof, do you have a ministry of petroleum in America?’ He said no. I said, ‘Do you have an organisation like the NNPC over there?’ He said no. And America produces oil more than any country? He said yes.
“So I asked him, ‘How do they do it in America?’ and he said taxation, and I decided that I will go by taxation too.”
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, in August last year, refused to assent to the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB). The President had attributed his action to three concerns:
That the provision of the bill permitting the Petroleum Regulatory Commission to retain as much as 10 percent of the revenue generated could affect FAAC allocations.
He also said expanding the scope of Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) was at odds with the administration’s policy and some legislative drafting concerns which, if assented to in the form presented, will create ambiguity and conflict in interpretation.
Atiku also took a swipe at the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, saying his policies as head of the apex bank is not working. “I don’t think he’s pursued the right policies. We have to have the right people in there.”
Criticism of the Emefiele comes on the heels of darts thrown by President Muhammadu Buhari in an interview recently where he said he had left the CBN Governor in power, in order to account for funds spent by the previous administration.