A former Vice President and now a presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, has vowed to defeat the mafia-like structures undermining Nigeria’s energy sector, in an ambitious economic outlay he unfolded Monday ahead of the 2015 presidential election.
At an event in Abuja Monday, Mr. Abubakar laid out a draft policy of his plan for the economy, with a promise to effect fundamental restructuring of institutions promoting inequality and concentrating the nation’s wealth in a few privileged hands.
The former vice president identified the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN –formerly National Electricity Power Authority, NEPA, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as two key government institutions operating with mafias who hold the country to ransom.
“Unless those mafias are broken, those two institutions would never work. Government must be prepared to dismantle the mafias in NEPA, PHCN, which have decided not to allow the country have stable electricity supply, and those in NNPC,” Mr. Abubakar said.
Addressing finance and economy reporters in Abuja, Mr. Atiku assured Nigerians that if elected as the next president in 2015, his administration’s economic policies would not only address habits and practices that currently compromise policy implementation, but also those that would promote the hallmark of good governance through effective policy monitoring, evaluation and implementation.
Besides, he said the main thrust of his administration’s economic policies would attempt to modify the way the machinery of the Federal Government is working at the moment by providing the political vision and capacity to tackle the incidence of poverty among the populace.
The key policy areas in the economic programmes announced by the APC presidential aspirant include wealth generation, which consists of about 20 components; infrastructure development and power (9); education and skill acquisition (9), security (11), entrepreneurship and good governance (13), agriculture and food security (8) and Niger Delta development and ravaged areas (6).
Mr. Abubakar, a former Customs officer, is now reputed as one of the leading private employers of labour in Nigeria.
As vice president, he also chaired the National Council on Privatisation, NCP, responsible for the sale of government companies to private entities, a process widely regarded as barely successful.
Asked why he failed to utilise his economic plans to ensure a successful privatisation of state-run companies like moribund telecommunication giant, NITEL, petroleum refineries, the former vice president said the privatisation process was not carried out by him as an individual but by the NCP, as such he could not be blamed for any failing.
Mr. Abubakar said his draft economic plan would be subjected to a comprehensive review by various experts during the Review Summit scheduled for October 27, 2014 in Abeokuta, to bring the policy in context and alignment with the manifesto of the party.
Apart from ensuring that the youths are given the opportunity to make major inputs in the party’s draft policy, Mr. Atiku said the final document would clarify and streamline the responsibilities of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) by removing overlapping roles and redundancies.
The policies, he added, would rely on the private sector as the main driver of both the administration’s economic and social policies, while delegating operational responsibilities to states/Local Governments and private organisations.
“Our government would provide the leadership and regulatory mechanism to ensure results are achieved,” he said. “That is a major shift from what we have been witnessing under successive governments in the country.”
Though he acknowledged the impressive Gross Domestic Products, GDP, growth and economic stability of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, Mr. Atiku said it was unfortunate that these have not trickled down to the ordinary man, as government structure tends to concentrate the wealth of the nation in the hands of a few people at the top echelon of the population.
“We are stunted in our economic growth. Our job creation record have been very bad. It is only when our job creation efforts are good that the growth in GDP could be translated to the people. At the moment the country has the highest rate of unemployment,” he said.
To encourage the major creators of jobs to provide more employment opportunities, Mr. Atiku said his administration would provide tax rebates to them so far as they would give their commitment to create at least half a million jobs for the economy from their sectors.