With the projections by the United Nations that Nigeria’s population would be the 3rd most populous in the world by the year 2050, a bastardized Nigerian economy should be something of concern to stakeholders in the global market.
With the increasing number of disgruntled youths from developing and underdeveloped countries searching for a better standard of living in developed countries, Nigeria’s economic quagmire should bother the international community.
The country undertook measures to privatise its energy sector in 2005 with the hope of reducing production costs through steady electricity supply which was expected to stimulate Foreign Direct Investment. Sadly, none of these has positively impacted Nigeria’s economy nor brought the desired change.
With the present policy to privatise its flagship oil and gas company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), economic experts are convinced that this move will not only prove counterproductive but may likely lead to an exponential increase in fuel price and commodities in Nigeria, further impoverishing people in that part of the world.
Presently, over 82 million Nigerians live below one dollar a day according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Many observers have questioned the rationale by the Nigerian authorities to privatise essential commodities. While it may be seemingly okay to privatise sectors that are not as essential as energy, ports and oil (sectors that have alternatives) such as transportation and aviation since such privatisation will trigger needed competition which would positively rub off on standards of service delivery and create viable affordable options for customers, it’s preposterous for an economy that lacks requisite effective instruments and mechanism of checks to privatise essential sectors like oil, energy or its Ports were imported and exported goods transit.
Sectors like transportation and aviation are broad and leave one with so many options. For instance, if you don’t want to fly, you can travel by road. If you don’t want to patronize a particular transport company, you can buy your car and travel privately. However, this isn’t so with the oil, energy, and Ports sector where there isn’t an alternative for importers in Nigeria who must make use of Ports to bring in goods. If the Ports were to be privatised into the hands of the same greedy elite in Nigeria who are now in charge of the nation’s energy sector, it’s evident that the cost of importation will further increase leaving the Nigerian market inflated beyond measure.
In Nigeria, fuel remains a constant necessity without which one cannot travel. Even when there is an electrical power outage in Nigeria, its citizens resort to fuel to power their generators as a makeshift measure which very often suffice as permanent. How then will this very important country in the global market survive when her leading entity of oil and gas production falls into the hand of a single citizen?
If the privatisation of energy did not solve Nigeria’s electricity crisis, the rationale for privatizing its oil industry is definitely flawed and founded on a false premise.
Nigeria’s oil and gas company NNPC announced in August this year the acquisition of at least 300,000 barrels per day of Nigeria’s crude oil production by Africa’s leading government-backed billionaire, Aliko Dangote. The billionaire who is fondly favoured by the Nigerian government is set to commission a 650,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Lagos, the biggest city in the most fuel-consuming nation in the region, in January 2022. With the numerous contradictions, systemic corruption and greed of Nigeria’s gluttonous leaders, it’s almost impossible to see a win for the Nigerian masses in this move by the government. It almost seems the oligarchy and patriarchs in Nigeria are hellbent on sell-off what remains of the country, and mortgage the future of the teeming youths through unnecessary economic crippling loans that would not bring any good to the citizenry.
As the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) continues to grapple with the increasing multidimensional challenge of irregular migration, it may be necessary for it to take note of this looming time bomb in 2050 if not sooner.