The Special Assistant on Public Communication to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, has faulted the announcement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) that it had taken a $3bn loan for the primary purpose of supporting the naira.
Shaibu dismissed the announcement as “ a mere banana peel”, a ruse to force the naira to appreciate on the parallel market.
He said this in a statement, in Abuja, on Wednesday.
According to him, the move was cosmetic and unimaginative and had “once again exposed President Bola Tinubu as a lilliputian economist that lacked ideas on how to rescue the economy he had pushed to the edge with unviable policies.”
He maitained that monetary policy was not the job of the NNPCL but the Central Bank of Nigeria and wondered why the NNPCL, which claimed to be a profit-making organisation, would go ahead to take a loan for the primary purpose of stabilising the naira.
The Atiku aide also drew parallels between the actions of the NNPCL and the CBN under the authority of Godwin Emefiele.
Shaibu noted that oil production had dropped on Tinubu’s watch due to continuous oil theft.
He pointed out that instead of boosting forex liquidity by increasing production and exports, Tinubu decided to take the Jejune path of obtaining foreign loans, an inglorious road that his predecessor had travelled
Shaibu said, “For many years, Tinubu claimed that he built the economy of Lagos from scratch. Now, he has been exposed as a charlatan. His administration detained Emefiele and vilified him for taking FX loans from JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs running into $7.5bn, which was used in defending the naira.
“Now, Tinubu’s administration claims to have done the same thing by forcing the NNPCL to take a loan of $3bn to defend the naira. We, however, have it on good authority that this is all a ruse to force the naira to appreciate at the parallel market, an action that will further affect the government’s credibility.
“The NNPCL has failed to shed the toga of an ordinary government agency. No wonder it has refused to become a public limited liability company, as stated in the Petroleum Industry Act.
“The NNPCL boss, Mele Kyari, who is also desperate to retain his job, has allowed himself to become a willing political tool just like Emefiele. If the NNPCL was a publicly listed oil firm like Aramco and Mobil, would it obtain a loan in order to ‘defend the naira’?”
He further stated that Tinubu lacked a clear economic blueprint, hence his constant failures. He argued that Tinubu’s policy flip-flops had already begun affecting Nigerian bonds, as reported by Bloomberg.
The Atiku Spokesperson further stated that , “The PUNCH aptly described Tinubu in its recent editorial as a loose cannon that goes around with a wrecking ball. He takes action whimsically without thinking about consequences. He announced the removal of petrol subsidies without proper planning and brought the nation to its knees.
“He forced the CBN to float the naira even though the country had liquidity problems. Now, he is on the verge of taking the West African region to war without Senate approval. Tinubu is nothing but a myth that will continue to unravel.
“He claims to have deregulated the petroleum sector, and yet NNPC is still the one determining the price of petrol. He has pegged the price of petrol and yet claims that there is no subsidy. Nigerians must not allow themselves to be deceived by this man.”