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Atiku Abubakar 99

My govt’ll privatise parts of NNPC, allow naira to float and attract FDI if elected—Atiku

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More strategic reform ideas are still coming from the camp of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

In a recent interview, he revealed that he will privatise parts of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and allow the naira to float to attract foreign investment if elected as president.

Business Hilights recalls that the former key ally of President Muhammadu Buhari whose resources helped propel him to power, quit the ruling All Progressives Party (APC) in November and re-joined the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) a month later.

Atiku was exceptionally loved by majority of business leaders in Nigeria based on his drive in the implementation of the liberalisation programme of former President Olusegun Obasanjo which Atiku served as Vice President between 1999 and 2007.

The Adamawa born-politician and former Customs boss averred that “I am also going to expand the oil and gas sector which have not been touched at all and other major sectors of the economy like mining, solid minerals”.

According to him, he would privatise parts of NNPC which has been beset by decades of mismanagement and is crucial to the OPEC member’s economic fortunes. He did not specify the parts that would be privatised.

He argued that “I am a strong believer in very, very small government and also the private sector,” saying “I will allow the naira to float because I believe that is one of the ways foreign direct investment can be encouraged to come in”.

Analysts recalled that a drop in crude oil prices from late 2014 pushed Nigeria into its first recession in 25 years in 2016, spawning chronic dollar shortages because oil receipts make up two-thirds of government revenue and most of the country’s foreign exchange.

Besides, the economy moved out of recession last year but growth remains weak and multiple exchange rates remain in place, imposed by the central bank to support Buhari’s insistence that the naira should not be allowed to float.

Atiku is relying on the permutation that millions of Nigerian voters would welcome someone who could revive their fortunes, adding that of his three previous presidential campaigns, he was only once rejected by the electorate.

However, in a sharp response to the outplaying scenario around Atiku Abubakar’s presidential chances, Bismarck Rewane, chief executive of Lagos-based consultancy Financial Derivatives, said the former vice president’s familiarity and age could be a disadvantage.

He argued that for anyone “To upset the Buhari candidature, you need something different: someone young, energetic and charismatic. You need something distinct from the current leadership”.

Rewane added further that “Abubakar lacked Buhari’s popularity in northern states and at 71, just four years younger than the president, would struggle to generate “inter-generational appeal”.

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