Atiku calls for privatization of NNPC

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In the wake of the report from Bloomberg Business that Nigeria will soon have the highest unemployment rate on earth with over 33 percent rate, a former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has urged the Federal Government to sell off the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the refineries.

Abubakar, said this is necessary for defusing Nigeria’s high unemployment time bomb. In a statement he released on Sunday, the former VP said the Bloomberg report had proven him right on the state of the economy.

“As a nation, we are better off privatising our refineries and the NNPC through the time-tested LNG model in which the FG owns 49% equity and the private sector 51%.

“Recall that in 20 years ending 2020, the NLNG had delivered $18.3 billion dividends to government irrespective of taxes and other benefit accruals to the country.”

He said the privatisation will not only free the government of needless spending, but also” clean up the infrastructure mess in the petroleum downstream sector,” he said.

 “I have never felt so bad at being proven right, as I am by the report from Bloomberg Business on Saturday, March 27, 2021 that Nigeria is to emerge as the nation with the highest unemployment rate on Earth, at just over 33%.

“We warned about this, but repeated warnings by myself and other patriots were scorned. And now this.

“How did Nigeria get here? We got here by abandoning the people-centred leadership and free trade and deregulatory policies of the Obasanjo years (which saw us maintain an almost single digit unemployment rate), and implementing discredited command and control policies that have led to massive capital flight from Nigeria.

“And even with the paucity of funds, we continue to ramp up government involvement in sectors that ought to be left to the private sector, with the latest being the ill-advised $1.5 billion so called rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery that has failed to turn a profit for years.”

The Peoples Democratic Party leader suggested that a stipend should be given to every family monthly to cater for academic needs of their wards.

“In 2020, I recommended that to immediately and drastically bring down youth unemployment, every family in Nigeria with at least one school age child, and earning less than $800 per annum should receive a monthly stipend of 5000 Naira from the government via their BVN and NIN on the condition that they verifiably keep their children in school.

“My recommendation still stands, and stands even stronger now that we have crossed the rubicon in youth unemployment.

“If we can get the 13.5 million out of school Nigerian children into school, we will turn the corner in one generation. If we do not do this, then the floodgates of unemployment will be further opened next year, and in the years to come,” he said.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had said Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 33.3 per cent in the final quarter of last year, indicating that 23.2 million or one in three working age Nigerians have no jobs or trade. This is the highest unemployment rate in Nigeria in at least 13 years and the second-highest in the world.

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