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Nigeria deplores government-controlled economy

AActing President, Yemi Osinbajo (fifth right); with Deputy Managing Director, Total (E&P), Musa Kida (left); Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Usman; Chairman, LADOL, Ladi Jadesimi; HMoS (Trade & Investment), Aishat Abubakar; Chairman/CEO, Inter Energy Services, Dr. Duran Fawibe; Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), Bayo Ojulari; and Managing Director, LADOL, Dr. Amy Jadesimi; during Osinbajo’s tour of Egina FPSO in Lagos at the weekend.

Nigeria’s Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has deplored business monopoly and
Government’s controlled economy and described it as a disservice to the economy and development.

Osinbajo who spoke when he visited Total’s Egina Floating Production Storage Offloading (FPSO) in LADOL Free Zone in Lagos, explained that private sector-led and free market economy remains critical to the growth, industrialisation and development of Nigeria.

The Acting President identified corruption as a major setback in the country’s petroleum industry as well as the economy at large.

He stressed that the war against the menace by the current administration had just begun and assured Nigerians of government’s resolve to take the fight beyond limits.

“For us, it is not just about creating the right business environment but creating the right attitude. Part of the challenge is corruption.

“The fight against corruption in Nigeria has just started. We are investing, despite earning 60 per cent less revenue, almost five times more than the previous government on infrastructure. We have not even reached a point where we will be looking at public service and people doing all sorts of things. That is next phase and that phase is important.

“This country can only work if we are able to deal with corruption. When people put their financial interest over what will benefit the entire nation, we are never going to be able to make progress. A project like the Egina FPSO is able to be held up just because somebody is not granting approvals.”

 “This project, for example, is a $16 billion project in naira terms that is about N5 trillion. The entire Nigerian budget is about N9 trillion and our spending on infrastructure, which is the largest in the history of Nigeria, is N1.5 trillion. So it tells you that this project alone is several times more than the Federal Government’s spending on infrastructure.

“This is the story of developed economies that are private sector-driven, as there is no way that government’s revenue can possibly satisfy the demand.”

The Managing Director, Total Upstream, Nigeria, Mr. Nicolas Terraz, said his company would continue to invest in Nigeria’s economy, as it had invested over $10 billion in the last five years.