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Why NNPC shouldn’t be run by government, by opposition candidate, Atiku

Presidential candidate of the main opposition party in Nigeria, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has said he has always believed that the country’s petroleum corporation, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) should not be run by the government.

He said the NNPC has become a “mafia organisation”, insisting that for efficient administration, it must be privatized.

There have been a number of efforts to de-regulate Nigeria’s petroleum sector or to unbundle the responsibilities of the NNPC but that has not been effective. Petroleum is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy.

Atiku, while speaking in Lagos during an interactive session with the business community on Wednesday, January 16, 2019, vowed to privatise it if elected president of Nigeria come February 16th.

Speaking on, he said that he sold the idea to former President Olusegun Obasanjo whom he deputised between 1999 and 2007 but that the former president did not approve of it.

He said that he is convinced that NNPC would run better if not managed by the government. According to him:

“Let me go back to my experience. When we got into office, I walked up to my boss and said “Sir, there are two mafia organisations in government: one is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) while the other one is the National Electricity Power Authority (NEPA).

“I said unless we dismantle these mafia organisations, we cannot make progress. Let’s privatise them… the long and short of this is that I am committed to privitaisation as I have said. I swear even if they are going to kill me, I will do it (privatise NNPC)”.

He spoke about how an expert in the petroleum sector influenced his stance on privatisation of NNPC.

“I asked a Nigerian professor based in America; I said ‘Prof, do you have ministry of petroleum in America?’ He said no.

“I said, ‘Do you have an organisation like 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”.

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