Former vice president Atiku Abubakar has said the NNPCL has to explain to Nigerians how the privatisation of the country’ refinery will be of benefit.
This was after the NNPCL urged private companies to tender Expression of Interest forms to enter into a public private partnership concerning the Port Harcourt Refinery.
In a post on X, Atiku stated that it would have been better for the refinery to be sold of than the approach the NNPCL is taking.
He said, “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 NNPCL must explain to the satisfaction of Nigerians what benefits its newly discovered approach to privatisation will confer on Nigeria and Nigerians. -AA.”