Following media reports concerning the mismanagement of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in the last few years, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed regrets for not privatizing NNPC while in office.
Obasanjo who was instrumental to the reform and establishment of the NNPC from Nigerian National Oil Corporation said if he had known that the NNPC would be mismanaged, he would have done something better by privatizing it and putting it on the stock exchange.
The former president stressed that institutions that are important in the country which have not worked, have to be made functional, citing the Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas company as a model.
He explained that the NLNG didn’t go the way of NNPC because of the way it was organised. 51 per cent is owned by private investors both foreign and indigenous while 49 per cent is owned by government. In his words; “In fact NLNG has been making money ever since the initial capital investment. From three trains we are going to seven trains.”
Speaking at a two-day maritime stakeholder’s conference hosted by the Ministry of Transportation and its agencies, in Lagos on Monday, Obasanjo called for the privatization of the maritime institutions in the country.
According to him, government should look into these areas and think outside of the box. Until the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) became a place where people steal money, nobody knew much about it. Now everybody wants to work there.
Citing the National Inland Waterways Authority, the Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron and the Nigeria Ports Authority which his administration tried to privatize, he said these are institutions we can make to work.
Obasanjo recalled that some of the reasons why the Nigerian National Shipping Line failed was lack of commitment, professionalism, and corruption.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, in his speech, said that plans were on-going for the re-establishment of a National Shipping Line. He described the absence of a national carrier as a mockery of the country’s status as the largest economy in Africa.