FG should have no stake in oil, gas sector, full privatisation is key – El Rufai
Despite President Muhammadu Buhari recently scoring his administration high on development indices ranging from security, energy and infrastructures recently, the Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has blamed the lapses still bedevilling the oil and gas sector on the Federal Government. El Rufai claimed the lessons drawn from the telecommunications sector have shown that total or full deregulation of the oil and gas sector was the only way out of the problems the sector is frost with.
The governor who appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday aired his opinion on the occasion of the seventh edition of KadInvest.
The former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory said nothing significant has changed with the commercialisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company in July 2022, insisting that NNPC constitutes Nigeria’s biggest problem and should be privatised. He argued that though the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari may be trying to make an impact, the company has failed and has no business being in the sector.
He went down memory lane, citing an example of the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited which he said was at its lowest ebb until the private sector came in and revolutionized the telecoms business.
His words, “I am giving this example so that when I say the government should get out of oil and gas, people should not think it is crazy; it is not. The Nigerian Government should not be a player in the oil and gas sector. It should just give up and get out, it has failed. By every measure, it has failed.
“This year, NNPC cannot boast of bringing N20,000 to the federation account. We are living on taxes. It is PPTs, royalties, income tax and VAT that are keeping this country going because the NNPC claims that subsidy has taken all the oil revenues. I find it hard to believe”
The Governor further argued that the Federal Government should get out of the power sector and privatise it for the country to overcome the hydra-headed and decades-long challenges of the sector.
He said he strongly believes that the government should sell everything in the oil and gas sector. ”The government should get out of everything that is left of electricity, leave it to the private sector, and create the environment, the money will come. We did it in the telecoms sector”.
Commenting on the commercialisation of the NNPC, he restated, “Nothing has changed, they are still taking our money, declaring profit that we don’t see the dividends”.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government recently effected some changes in the nomenclature of the NNPC, registering it with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and changing its name to NNPC Limited.