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NNPC Should Have Privatised Refineries Before Rehabilitation — Atiku

Atiku faulted the approach by NNPC, saying the company must explain to the satisfaction of Nigerians the benefits of its newly discovered approach to privatisation.


A file photo of the Warri refinery (Photo: Facebook/NNPC Limited)

 

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar says the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited should have privatised refineries before rehabilitation to avoid debt.

The 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was reacting to reports that the NNPC had concluded plans to hand over the government refinery to private operators.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, Atiku faulted the approach by NNPC, saying the company must explain to the satisfaction of Nigerians the benefits of its newly discovered approach to privatisation.

He wrote, “I have always advocated for far-reaching reforms to reposition Nigeria’s oil sector and, indeed, other sectors of our economy.

“In particular, I had consistently called on the Buhari administration to break its monopoly in all infrastructure sectors, including the refineries, and give investors, both foreign and domestic, a larger role in funding and management.

“My position has been well laid out in The Atiku Plan (2018) and My Covenant With Nigerians (2022). But our suggestions fell on deaf ears. First, they refused to privatise the refineries. They left them idle for years while paying humongous staff salaries.

“Then, they contracted a loan of US$1.5 billion for rehabilitation.

“Now, the current administration wants to turn the rehabilitated refinery to private concerns for operation and maintenance!

“Without prejudice to the terms of the agreement between the NNPC and the private operators, it would undoubtedly have been better if the NNPC had sold the refinery, pre-rehabilitation, to avoid the burden of debt.

The NNPC must explain to the satisfaction of Nigerians what benefits its newly discovered approach to privatisation will confer on Nigeria and Nigerians.”