Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has backed moves by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to privatize Nigeria’s refineries and other assets to fund the 2021 budget.
Reports had emerged last Thursday that the Buhari government had submitted a proposal to sell or concession 36 of its properties between January 2021 and November 2022 to the National Assembly.
PremiumTimes had stated that the documents showed the names of the “projects” (as described by the document), the sale strategy, the duration of the process as well as the cost of the properties.
Top among these properties are the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), the Abuja International Conference Centre (ICC), some unnamed refineries, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Abuja Water Board, Nigerian Film Corporation, among others.
Reacting in a statement to Naija News on Sunday, Atiku expressed happiness that the Buhari administration that once failed to back the economic policies, is now facing reality and has now embraced reason.
“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,” Atiku said.
“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.”