The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the 2019 elections, Atiku Abubakar, has vowed to reform the country’s oil and gas sector if elected.
Abubakar made the pledge in an interview he granted The African Review magazine.
In specific terms, the former Vice President said he would sell at least 90 per cent of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of he emerges the president in 2019, adding that when he was in power with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, there was a push to pass a law in that regard.
He told the November 2018 edition of The African Review: “Without a stable regulatory framework, the oil and gas companies will find it difficult to invest more in Nigeria.
“At the time, we pushed for the passage of the new law.
“We expected that Nigeria would be able to export up to about 4m barrels per day, but here we are still at less than 2m per day.”
Asked specifically if he would sell the whole of NNPC or the Federal Government keeps about 10 per cent, Abubakar responded: “Yes, I would want to go ahead, there is no doubt about that.
“(The government should have) a very minor shareholding.
“Nigeria is in dire need of funds to develop its infrastructure and other sectors of the economy.”
Speaking on the travails of his company, Intels, Abubakar said: “Intels has always suffered because I have been involved in the fight for democracy since the 1980s, when the military was in power.
“(Governments) will pounce on Intels – refuse me one licence or the other, close me down.
“Even the government that I served as a democratically elected vice-president, the president closed Intels for six months when he had a disagreement with me.
“He never found a fault with it and eventually opened it again.
“The last three years have been the worst in the history of Intels because our turnover dropped by 70 per cent.
“Oil companies and gas companies are no longer investing in that sector because of the absence of laws that can guarantee their investment.”
When asked if he would impose such ban as was done on the importation of cement, which aided Aliko Dangote to build his cement production empire, Abubakar said: “I am one of the people who promoted Aliko Dangote, but I’m never for monopoly.
“Import bans to some extent, but certainly not for a monopoly.
“As long as (a ban) is going to develop industries, which means creating jobs, as long as it is going to develop our infrastructure.
“I’m prepared to privatise the development of infrastructure in the country.
“That will create millions and millions of jobs.”