Nigerian presidential aspirant Atiku Abubakar said he will privatize the oil industry of Africa’s biggest crude producer if he becomes its next leader.
“The United States pump more oil than Nigeria, yet they don’t have a Ministry of Petroleum Resources”, Abubakar, 71, told reporters Sunday night in the capital, Abuja. “If I have my way, I will hand over the entire thing to the private sector and I will get more money than what the government is getting now,” he told a press conference in the capital, Abuja.
Nigeria’s Ministry of Petroleum Resources oversees the state-run oil company, often criticized for its inefficiency and lack of transparency. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. manages joint ventures between the government and international oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell plc, Total S.A. and Chevron Corp.
Abubakar, a former vice president, is seeking the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s nomination to defeat incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari who will run for a second term in February. The PDP will chose its candidate during a national convention on Oct. 5 and 6.
Abubakar also said he would privatize the nation’s poorly maintained and inefficient oil refineries. “Since we have failed to get our refineries to work and produce the by-product, why not privatize them and let other people that can produce the wealth for us, produce the wealth for us”.
Decrepit state refineries operate far below their capacity, forcing the country to import the b 90 percent of its oil-products even as it exports large volumes of crude.
A former Nigerian Customs Service top official who became a major shareholder in Intels Nigeria Ltd., an oil-service company, Abubakar has advocated regional autonomy. He favors scrapping the system of multiple exchange rates, increasing spending on education and preparing Nigeria for life after oil.