Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has lauded the decision of the Buhari administration to privatise the nation’s refineries, saying it is always better late than never.
In a statement on Sunday, Atiku recalled how he had championed the privatisation of such government assets from the Obasanjo years and how the idea was scorned by the Buhari administration.
“For decades, I have championed the privatisation of our economy and full deregulation of our oil and gas sector, amongst other sectors, for greater service delivery and efficiency”, he wrote.
“As chairman of the National Council on Privatisation, I advanced these policies which saw our economy achieve 6% GDP growth and created jobs for the masses of our people, and amass the national wealth that enabled us exit the debt trap, and secure our financial independence.
“Even though my ideas were scorned by the All Progressives Congress led Federal Government over the years, I am nevertheless most fulfilled that an administration that once failed to see the wisdom in these sound economic policies, is now facing reality and has now embraced reason, by announcing the privatisation of our refineries and other assets, which have not always prospered under public management.
“It is always better late than never. And I commend the Federal Government for coming on board. I urge that the privatisation process be as transparent as possible, as that is the only way to ensure that Nigeria reaps the greatest economic benefits from this policy.
“It was never about me. My interest has always been the peace, prosperity and progress of Nigeria, and I am happy to share these ideas, and others, with the government of the day, for the betterment of our nation and its people”, he said.
The Buhari administration in a proposal sent to the National Assembly last week listed over 30 assets to be sold to private investors.
Among them are the four refineries, which were once proposed for sale by the Jonathan administration.
Other assets listed for sale are the Abuja International Conference Centre (ICC), the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Abuja Water Board and Nigerian Film Corporation.
The federal government plans to auction the assets to fund the N13.58 trillion 2021 budget, signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 31, 2020.