…meets Dangote, Otedola, Elumelu, others in Lagos
Peoples’ Democratic Party presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has said there will no longer be a hiding place for oil thieves and their accomplices, no matter how high up in the country, if he comes to power in 2023.
This was Atiku’s promise on Saturday in Lagos when he interacted with a broad spectrum of Nigerian companies under the aegis of the Business Dialogue Stakeholders Forum at the Eko Hotel.
Industry deans at the session include: Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia, Femi Otedola, Tony Elumelu, Herbert Wigwe and Muhammad Hayatudeen, among others.
Atiku also said that for the sake of national development, he would confiscate all the oil blocks assigned to some Nigerians who failed to make them operational.
The former vice president, who has vowed to hold frequent interactive sessions between the government and the country’s business class when a vote for power is held, also outlined ways he would address what he described as a failing economy.
“If they are not going to develop the oil blocks that are given to them, we will take them away and give them to those who develop them. We will also gather the names of those involved in the oil theft, publish them and prosecute them,” Atiku told interested parties.
Commenting on his plans to boost the oil and gas sector, Atiku noted that under the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the oil production quota was set to increase to four million barrels per day.
That plan, he explained, would be resurrected and sustained beyond the projected figure, when it is voted on next year, and pointed out that to do it successfully, the Oil Industry Law and any other enabling law would be invoked.
“When we were in government, we started this process. However, there were setbacks. We were unable to pass legislation to encourage COIs to participate in the sector. We will go back to where we started,” he said.
He added that the Brass and Olokola LNG projects, started under the Obasanjo administration, would receive more attention under his tenure. “We will continue if we have the opportunity. As you know, joint ventures are good because they are investor driven,” he said.
He reiterated his commitment to privatize the refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri, saying: “I swear to God I will privatize them,” he told the businessmen.
Turning to the N20 trillion fiscal FOREX, monetary policy and balance of paths and means challenges facing the country, Atiku said: “I think we should have a FOREX policy that allows for convergence. I do not believe in a multiple FOREX policy that currently applies.”
He said that in order to stabilize the FOREX regime’s loopholes in oil, production would be blocked, stressing that it would encourage local production and “not control public spending.”
“The dollarization or not of the Nigerian economy depends on the strength or weakness of our economy. If we strengthen our economy, you don’t need the dollar. The naira may be strengthened by the number of jobs created and exports,” he said.
According to him, the monetary policy would be such that the Central Bank of Nigeria would be independent. “Monetary policy and other related elements would be liberalized. Without prize stability, the economy doesn’t work for anyone; and job creation and poverty eradication cannot be achieved.”
“The CBN will take responsibility for providing price stability despite the fact that inflation is a global phenomenon and the product of strong demand and limited supply.
“But none of this prevents the CBN from fulfilling its duty of price stability and one-stop fiscal regime,” said the PPD presidential candidate, noting that “some of these economic and financial challenges existed in 1999.”
In his remarks, PDP vice-presidential candidate Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, listing some problems facing the Niger Delta region as community unrest, high-powered illegal fueling and pipeline rupture by vandals, said that the Atiku administration would embark on technology-driven initiatives. monitoring and other solutions to address the problems.
PDP National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu thanked Nigerian businesses for honoring the occasion and assured them that they were engaging with the right party. “There will be a continuous dialogue. When we take power next year, no yes, we will continue to engage with you,” he said.
Governors Udom Emmanuel and Aminu Tambuwal of Akwa Ibom and Sokoto states; who is the chairman and CEO of the Atiku/Okowa presidential campaign team, urged stakeholders to support Atiku for a better Nigeria.