A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Kingsley Moghalu, today called for partial privatization of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the repeal of the Land Use Act as a step towards improving the nation’s economic growth.
Moghalu prescribed the economic panacea for Nigeria during his lecture at the 2018 edition of The Bullion Lecture organised by the Centre for Financial Journalism tagged “The Wealth of Nations and the Imperative of Economic Transformation” held today in Lagos.
He described the NNPC in its present structure as more of a “government ATM machine”, and strongly recommended the restructuring the state-owned oil corporation or establishment of another entity that would operate on public private partnership (PPP) arrangement.
The banker said: “The NNPC must be partially privatized like the NLG which is functioning well. It is making profit. It is obvious that the answer is public private participation, so that there can be discipline in its operations.
“The other one (NNPC) is a government ATM, political ATM. So there is no real oversight. Transparency is not there. We could have made a lot of money from it but our refineries are dead. We are a country that exports crude petroleum products and imports refined petroleum products. Is that not the clinical definition of madness?”, Moghalu queried.
This is even as he also canvassed the repeal of the Land Use Act due to the bureaucratic impediments to its efficient implementation in order to open up more land for economic activities.
He explained: “The constitutional repeal of the Land Use Act which is trapping the wealth of Nigerians citizens in the hands choking grip of state bureaucracy because one of the need for a successful capitalism is property right if you have land that land is vested in the state.
“This means you are just a tenant with a C of O instead of having a free home which expands what you can use that land for in terms of generating capital”, he added
Similarly, Moghalu called for the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector, noting that it is long overdue in order to end the fuel scarcity in the country.
He clarified: “If we do not deregulate it, we cannot be free of all this running around on how to decide the price of petroleum products and fuel scarcity will continue. I saw a newspaper that showed fuel scarcity in the 1970s and somebody that we are very familiar with who was the then minister of petroleum said the problem will soon be over. This was 40 years ago and we are still facing the same challenges”.
Moghalu, who had already indicated his intention to contest in the 2019 Presidential election, harped on the need for the establishment of a clear worldview for the Nigerian state.
In addition, he also made a strong case for the “establishment and consistent application of a clear economic philosophy of entrepreneurial capitalism in the context of a developmental state as a guiding framework for the Nigerian economy.”