I have been one of the most vehement supporters for the privatisation of NNPC. Why? Because the corporation is a symbol of corruption and inefficiency. It is perhaps the biggest government business that is a catalyst for corruption, waste and laziness. Without NNPC, the government will focus on taxation as a major source of revenue and with taxation comes accountability to the electorate.
Taxation also ensures government sweats and toils to generate adequate revenue to run its business. The more people get dragged into the tax net the more tax revenues government get. And when people start to pay more in taxes, they feel the money leaving their pockets and as such demand better accountability. People will have to vote in line with their ideology or individual needs, rather than tribalism and ethnicity. This is in sharp contrast to relying on cash from NNPC which by its nature does not come out of our individual pockets.
So, I am quite happy to hear a former Managing Director of the NNPC Mr. Funsho Kupolokun and top officials of the corporation calling for the privatisation of the NNPC and the refineries for transparency and efficiency. Here is how Kupolokun put it
I was there and was one of those people that said privatisation of the NNPC is not the answer. Today, I have now known better. NNPC should just leave these refineries alone and let the industry move. Privatisation of the refineries should just go ahead.”
He said this at a symposium in Lagos at the weekend in honour of Chief Festus Marinho, the first Managing Director of the NNPC, who turned 80 last week. Other speakers at the event were Austin Avuru, the CEO of Seplat who also reiterates that the $5 billion the NNPC is owing buttresses the inefficiencies in the behemoth.
So what do you think? Should we privatise the NNPC.