29 September 2016, Abuja – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation can help the country quickly get out of recession.
Obasanjo stated this during a courtesy call on him by the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, in Abeokuta on Wednesday.
The NNPC on his Twitter handle quoted Obasanjo as saying, “What I do understand is reforms. I believe organisations like the NNPC should be reformed. It is our dream to see the NNPC grow as a national oil company just like its peers in other countries.
“I want to encourage you and hope that the little difference we have started seeing will continue. I have said it at the National Conference on Finance and Economic Development in Abeokuta yesterday (Tuesday) that I don’t understand this talk of selling our national assets.”
Obasanjo described selling of national assets as a wrong move, adding, “But reform is what I think it should be so that we can run the business the way it should be run.
“If there’s any organisation that can help us quickly get out of recession; it is the NNPC. If you work hard, you can get around the situation.”
This is, however, contrary to what the former President said on Tuesday.
He had suggested that the government should consider selling some shares of the NNPC to members of the public, but with a note of caution.
He had said, “I do not see why 48 per cent of the NNPC cannot be privatised. I think the problem is in the coinage ‘selling of assets’ as if we want to throw out our inheritance.
“What we are actually doing by that is simply reorganising. It should, however, be done transparently and let it actually go public and not to cabals, their relations and friends.
“This is always the fear of Nigerians when issues like this arise.”
During Wednesday’s visit to the former President, Baru commended his “positive influence” of, especially in his discussions with President Muhammadu Buhari on issues.
He added, “I also commend your vision towards efficiently transforming the NNPC for better performance, growth and profitability.
“We appreciate your call for diversification into agro-business and other energy sources. We are currently rejuvenating our renewable energy business. We’re working hard to flood the market with kerosene so that prices will come down, especially in the South-East.
“We’ll continue to work hard towards realising your lofty dreams of seeing the NNPC grow into a transformed national oil company without any interference.”