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El-Rufai: NNPC Is Nigeria’s Big Problem, Says FG Should Disinvest From Oil, Gas, Power Sectors

The Federal Government has failed in the oil and gas business and should get out of the sector, Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has said.

Speaking on Thursday at KADINVEST, an annual event organised by the Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency on the theme, KADINVEST: ‘Building a Resilient Economy,’ Governor El-Rufai said whatever the government manages turns out bad.

He said sectors doing well in the country like entertainment, telecoms, fintech and others have no government involvement.

According to him, nothing has changed with the commercialisation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) in July 2022.

He said though the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Limited, Mele Kyari is trying his best, the company has failed and has no business being in the sector.

He said: “There is no reason why the Nigerian Government should still be in the oil and gas sector. It should just get out, it has failed. By every measure it has failed.

“We are living on taxes. It is PPT, royalties and income tax that is keeping this country going. Because NNPC claims that subsidy has taken all the oil revenues, I don’t believe that. So, the government should sell everything —the oil and gas sector. I have been making this point since 1999 when I was head of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). I have not changed my mind.

“The government should get out of whatever is left of electricity. Leave it to the private sector. Maintain the environment. The money will come. Nothing has changed for NNPC other than adding L to it for the limited. They are still taking our money. They are still declaring profits that we don’t see the dividends.

“NNPC is a big problem to Nigeria and unless we resolve it, it will bring Nigeria to its knees. It’s a systemic and institutional problem, it’s beyond one person.”

These points, El-Rufai expatiated during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday as part of the seventh edition of KadInvest.

Giving the 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, the Kaduna State Governor stated: “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.”

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