Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria has drawn the anger and condemnation of Global stakeholders and many Nigerians in the diaspora for proposing to the in-coming administration of Gen Muhammadu Buhari to consider selling the Federal Government’s majority stakes in multinational Oil Companies to raise revenue for the Country.
Speaking on phone with THE NEW DIPLOMAT, Prof Ehiedu Iwerebor, former Chair of African Studies at the City University of New York said it is sad that this whole idea of JV could be reduced by Emefiele to just “naira and kobo because that was not the primary reason for setting up the JV and for the Federal Government to retain its stakes in the Joint Ventures”. He added: “ There is the issue of national interest, to protect our national interest. So they cannot think of any development template and what comes to their mind now is to sell our stakes in period of temporary fall in Oil prices… This is sad. What they are saying is what they have been lectured to say by the World Bank. Nigeria is not a Banana republic. We cannot sell out assets and stakes in the JVs because they are meant to mainly protect our National Interest.”
Another commentator, John Jefferson described the CBN Governor’s thesis as absurd and one of the most stupid proposals to come from a Governor any nations apex bank. “ It is absurd and absolutely rubbish. When you sell today to pay salaries, what will you sell tomorrow whne you might have exhausted all your stakes? What they need to do is to come up with a development template for Nigeria. In fact, Gen Buhari as new President on May 29, should find a way to ease out these characters from the economic team of their country because they lack the knowledge and expertise.”
Emefiele had in an interview with the London based FT said he had, without authorization or consultation with Stakeholders and Nigerians, asked CBN officials to evaluate how much could be raised if the Nigerian owned Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) 55% stakes in Joint Ventures with Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, Total and ENI are reduced through sales to raise revenue. He is of the view that 78 billion dollars could be raised via sales.
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