Sunday, Jan 2021

Bismarck Rewane, the chief executive of Financial Derivative, says Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), must tell Nigerians, who he is planning to sell the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to.

The Atiku policy document, released on Monday, highlights that the presidential candidate is seeking partial privatisation of the NNPC, regarded as Nigeria’s cash cow.

Reacting to the specific idea of privatising the NNPC, Rewane said the idea is a laudable one, but Atiku must tell Nigerians who he plans to sell to, else he may plunge the country into severe capitalism.

Rewane said “I agree that he (Atiku) should privatise, but selling to who?” Rewane said in his response to a question by Channels TV business editor, Boason Omofaye.

“You must not just say you are going to sell, you must tell us how, and to who?

“If you are going to have a voucher system like they have in India, where everybody in the public will have a voucher, then you can sell it.

“It becomes rather than government owned, it becomes Nigerian privately-owned, and part of it you want to internationalise like what Saudi Arabia is doing.

“But you see, it is a noble idea, but it stops short of the specifics, tell us who and who, and how you are going to ensure that it is not sold to your own cronies.

“One of the big risks of privatisation is the Russian model, where you have chronic capitalism. If you have businessmen, who are in government like Donald Trump, you want to make sure that both the government and the people are protected from conflicts of interest."

In a related development, speaking on president Muhammadu Buhari campaign mantra, Next Level, Rewane said he likes the fact that the Buhari administration wants to take Nigeria to the next level, and that policy documents are out more than 100 days before elections.

The Associate of the Institute of Bankers, England and Wales, also said he likes what the president is saying about his plans, but the presidential candidates need to debate.

He said the biggest problem he sees in the next level document is that it has not come out to say ‘we would sell those refineries’, remove subsidies, so we have a free market economy.

He added that there is nothing wrong with having a billionaire or a poor man in the office of the president, that what Nigeria needs is a leader with a vision, leaders who can deal with structural rigidity.

He said neither the Atiku nor the Muhammadu Buhari programme speaks on how to increase Nigeria’s labour productivity, considering the population growth.

The financial analyst, with over 40 years experience, said Buhari, Atiku have shown us “the what” they will do, but not “the how” they would do it.

He said both teams must deal with labour productivity, inflation, current recessionary gap, unemployment, and Nigeria’s excruciating debt service burden.

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