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2023 poll: Atiku’s Economic Plan not different from SAP Policy, says Okechukwu

By Adamu Abuh, Abuja
18 September 2022   |   6:35 pm
Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) says the economic plan developed by the former Vice President and candidate of the opposition peoples democratic party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar is akin to foisting the controversial structural adjustment programme (SAP) on Nigerians.

Nigerian former Vice President Atiku Abubakar attends the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) primaries in Abuja, on May 28, 2022. – Former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar on May 28, 2022 won the opposition party PDP’s primary to choose its candidate for the 2023 presidential election, according to ballot results. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) says the economic plan developed by the former Vice President and candidate of the opposition peoples democratic party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar is akin to foisting the controversial structural adjustment programme (SAP) on Nigerians.

The economic Plan delivered at the is more or less like the nebulous economic policy of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)’s Pocketbook of 1986.

The former Vice President at a forum with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) last Monday dwelt on the privatisation of State Owned Enterprises as the fulcrum of his economic revitalization programme, akin to SAP proponents of yore.

Okechukwu who is a foundation member of the APC remarked that as plausible as the idea of private sector partnership is; Atiku’s proposition was more or less preparing the grounds for rent-seekers and scanty industrialists.

He noted: “I make bold to say that what Atiku is proposing is by no means different from SAP policy thrust neither is his proposal on NNPC Ltd better than the giant steps that President Muhammadu Buhari has taken towards commercialism of NNPC.

“If you ask me, His Excellency Atiku Abubakar should first unite his party, and drop Senator Iyorchia Ayu who incidentally has crowned him Nigeria’s Odinga.

“Only thereafter could he return to the drawing board and recalibrate his Economic Plan in line with what the new frontiers that Nigerians are yearning for.”

Continuing, he stressed: “Therefore, I am not surprised that a man who breached PDP’s constitution and by extension failed to unite his party did not bother to do the needful assessment which posits that 80% of State Owned Enterprises privatised under his chairmanship of National Council of Privatisation and indeed the 16 years of PDP leadership went into comatose.

“Recall that when they came to power in 1999, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), with Atiku as Chairman of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) dusted up the SAP Pocketbook and stripped our national assets including profitable companies like NICON Insurance, NICON Hilton Hotel, Niger Dock and unprofitable companies like Distribution Electricity Distribution Companies.

“For instance, Niger Dock a profitable pre-privatisation company has 6,000 staff under Nnamdi Ozobia, today it has gone under with less than 600 staff and the N1.72 billion proceeds allegedly missing.

“Secondly, NICON one of Africa’s leading Insurers originally owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria was privatised in December 2005. With an asset base of N46.9bn gathered over a 52-year period of operation, 30 branches and six regional offices, it is therefore modest to classify NICON as a colossus in the insurance industry, but has regrettably gone under AMCON life support management.

“I challenge His Excellency to take a glance at the unintended consequences of the privatisation program before taking us back to SAP Pocketbook. Especially when Federal Government has wasted over N2 trillion in life support to Electricity Distribution Companies privatized to improve our power supply. Today the outcome is the crisis which defeated the core objective of privatization.”

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