Atiku Abubakar Calls for Privatization of Refineries and Sale of Other National Assets

Former vice president Atiku Abubakar has once again called for the privatization of Nigeria’s state-owned oil refineries.

In 2019, the sale of NNPC, and other national assets was Atiku’s main campaign message when he unsuccessfully contested to be Nigeria’s president.

Reiterating his point in a short message on Twitter, Atiku penned: ‘Privatisation of Refineries and Other Assets: Better Late Than Never.

For decades, I have championed the privatization of our economy and full deregulation of our oil and gas sector, amongst other sectors, for greater service delivery and efficiency.

However, Atiku admitted to the fact that the APC-led federal government has not always been positively predisposed to the idea of privatization despite the fact that national assets have not always prospered under public management.

He wrote: ‘Even though my ideas were scorned by the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government over the years, I am nevertheless most fulfilled that an administration that once failed to see the wisdom in these sound economic policies, is now facing reality and has now embraced reason, by announcing the privatization of our refineries and other assets, which have not always prospered under public management.

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Last week, the Nigerian government announced it has concluded plans to sell or concession 36 of its properties between January 2021 and November 2022. The move was to raise funds, largely to finance the 2021 budget.

Nigeria has four refineries, two in Port Harcourt, and one each in Warri and Kaduna, but all refineries in Africa’s largest oil producer are very old and in need of refurbishment. Over the past five years, utilization rates at those refineries haven’t exceeded 30 percent.

Atiku Abubakar was Nigeria’s vice president between 1999 and 2007, during that time he also served as chairman of the National Council on Privatisation: a special body set up to maximize efficiency in national assets and privatize others if need be.

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‘As chairman of the National Council on Privatisation, I advanced these policies which saw our economy achieve 6% GDP growth and created jobs for the masses of our people and amass the national wealth that enabled us exit the debt trap, and secure our financial independence, Atiku boasted.

Speaking further about the country’s plan to sell or concession 36 of its assets, Atiku penned: ‘It is always better late than never. And I commend the Federal Government for coming on board. I urge that the privatization process be as transparent as possible, as that is the only way to ensure that Nigeria reaps the greatest economic benefits from this policy.

‘It was never about me. My interest has always been the peace, prosperity, and progress of Nigeria, and I am happy to share these ideas, and others, with the government of the day, for the betterment of our nation and its people.

Ismaeel

Blogger that loves African geopolitics.

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