The 2023 Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has expressed the need by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, to sell off the Port Harcourt refinery.
Atiku who stated this while reacting to the decision of the NNPCL to hand over the Port Harcourt refinery to a private firm to operate and maintain, said the petroleum company should have sold off the refinery to avoid more debts, instead of handling it to a private firm to maintain.
The former Vice president maintained that the country’s oil company must explain to Nigerians what they stand to gain by handing over the refinery to a private firm.
According to Atiku who condemned the action taken by the NNPCL, lamented that all his suggestions have not been followed.
He tweeted: “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 privatize 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 @nnpclimited must explain to the satisfaction of Nigerians what benefits its newly discovered approach to privatisation will confer on Nigeria and Nigerians. – AA”