Renowned economist, Bismarck Rewane, has urged the federal government to ensure that privatisation of the Port Harcourt refinery is done through a transparent process.
Speaking on a TV programme on Thursday, Rewane said the process should not be done through the “backdoor”.
He said that being national assets, Nigerians have the right to know how their refineries are being sold to private individuals.
The chief executive officer of Financial Derivatives noted that privatisation of government companies has largely succeeded in other countries as a result of “core competence” on the side of investors, commitment as well as a transparent process.
“We had a privatisation process in the country on the refineries in 2007; very elaborate and comprehensive but then, I think Obasanjo signed off on it and subsequently, the Yar’Adua administration reneged and got out of it and that created the current problem we have,” he said.
“Now we have a situation where we want to privatise the refineries in Port-Harcourt through the backdoor. In other words, we are going to go through a process which is not open and transparent.
“The fact that you privatise does not necessarily guarantee you success… it is the process that determines the outcome.
“The process has to be transparent so that the pricing and compensation is adequate and the Nigerian public gets a good deal. Don’t forget that Nigeria needs refineries so badly now. Meanwhile, there are major investors.
“If you are going to privatise the existing refineries, you must give those people a chance to take a look at it because they have committed themselves they put their money in all these. And you can’t undercut them by making it uncompetitive.
“This is a national asset, every Nigerian has a responsibility and right to know how his assets are being sold.”