The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, formally released his policy document aimed at wooing voters for the 2019 elections.
The 63-page document titled, ‘Let’s get Nigeria working again,’ captured his plan for the nation’s critical sectors.
Atiku categorises his mission into three: unity, security and prosperity.
Under what he tagged, ‘Refining and Petrochemical Infrastructure,’ the former vice- president promised to privatise all the nation’s four refineries if voted into office in February 2019.
He said the decision became necessary because the four refineries with a total installed capacity of 450,000 barrels per day had operated sub-optimally over time.
Atiku noted that the refineries had struggled to produce at 10 per cent of installed capacity.
He described Nigeria as the most inefficient member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in terms of both the percentage of installed refining capacity that worked and the percentage of crude refined.
He said, “We shall prioritise investment in nameplate capacity and ensure that Nigeria starts to refine 50 per cent of its current crude oil output of two million barrels per day by 2025.
“We shall privatise all four outstanding government-owned refineries to competent off-takers with mandates to produce agreed levels of refined output.
“We shall issue new licences for Greenfield investment in crude oil refining and allied activities,” adding, “We shall introduce market-friendly fiscal and pricing policies.”
Atiku said the objectives of the policy were, among others, to create one million new jobs within 10 years via petrochemicals and petrochemicals-based activities, as well as to build enabling infrastructure to add value to the economy via the development of petrochemical facilities.
As part of efforts to promote the oil and gas sector, Atiku said he would partially privatise the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to ensure transparency and accountability of the oil firm.
He also promised to reconsider the introduction of the marginal fields’ bid round and oil blocks’ bid round as well as the building of modular refineries in the northern parts of the country.
The PDP candidate said he would deploy modern technology in pipeline surveillance and other security enhancements as well as intensify engagement with local communities in the oil production zones.
Promising to embrace restructuring, Atiku said his administration would decongest the exclusive and the concurrent list in the Constitution.
He stated that the Federal Government would retain the role of providing required direction for the economy, defence and national security, internal law and order, currency, international affairs and foreign policy, customs, citizenship and immigration, firearms and related matters.
He added, “Issues bordering on minerals and mines, internal security including police, law and order, railways, communications, transport, environment, land matters etc would be devolved to the concurrent list.
“Local governments shall become an independent tier of government, generating units will be supported in economy management.
“Nigeria’s common resources will be shared equitably in accordance with a new revenue allocation formula to be negotiated across abroad.”
On youths and women empowerment, the PDP candidate promised to break all barriers that prevented women from actualising their potential whether in adolescence or adulthood.
He regretted that while women constituted 50 per cent of Nigeria’s population, they were less empowered financially, politically, socially, culturally and economically within and outside the home.
Atiku promised to create a special tribunal for crimes against women.
“We shall encourage states and the private sector to incentivise studies for girls in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“We shall provide microfinance and financing schemes specifically targeted at the youth and women.
“We shall create a special tribunal for crimes against women including domestic violence, physical or sexual abuse, rape.”
He added, “We shall increase women representation and retention rates in politics and business, through positive action such as quotas for women on political platform and corporate boards.
“We shall increase the number of appointments made to young people in government and in government committees.”
Under his economic development agenda, Atiku said he would ensure a competitive and open economic system; reform public institutions; reduce infrastructure deficit; promote economic diversification; and human capital development.
He said he would target the creation of three million self-and-wage-paying employment opportunities in the private sector annually.
Atiku added that he would target all categories of youths, including graduates, early school leavers as well as out-of-school and unemployed youths.
Atiku said he had a good grasp of the challenges facing Nigeria and would learn from the mistakes of the past, consolidate on the successes of previous regimes and build the future.
The presidential candidate said he had an unwavering commitment to the principles of open, competitive and private sector-driven economy and was committed to building institutions.