THE ECONOMIC SCORECARD OF THE BUHARI REGIME
NIGERIA: A COUNTRY AT THE PRECIPICE.
The ruling class or working class to the rescue?
By Dagga Tolar
The Buhari regime came into power in 2015, under a massive euphoria of the change mantra slogan of the APC, occasioned by betrayal of expectations and disillusion with the Jonathan regime and the 16 year rule of the PDP, the working masses were completely in a state of disappointment with the PDP, and demonstrated their opposition to its rule through General strikes both under Obasanjo and Jonathan.
The General strikes were themselves developed by the working masses to a near insurrection, with the labour leaders proving to be merely out to flex muscles and unwilling to take up the cry of the working masses to employ its organised force and strength of the working masses to end the rule of the PDP.
This is the background for the defeat of the PDP in 2015, by a Buhari who had previously contested thrice and lost the presidential elections. If anything then, the APC’s victory at the polls is a consequence of the vacuum created by the labour leaders’ refusal to step up the game and take up the cry of the working masses to organise and contest for political power. So from the very beginning the APC’s Buhari regime was swam with illusion, created the falsehood of a magic wand with which the fortunes of the country will be turned around.
The spin doctors dressed him up as a “no-nonsense man” the very one that would combat the “monster of corruption in the polity”, pointing to the “arrest, trial and sentencing of politicians of the Second Republic to prison for corruption”1, completely discounting the fact that it had led the regime that ended the Second Republic presided by Shehu Shagari in December 1983, which saw it needing legitimize to justify the coup with no other choice than play pretense at dealing with members of the overthrown ruling elites.
After six years in power, the working masses both in the North and South of the country are better placed to fully pass judgement on the real Buhari and his regime’s electoral promises to revive the economy, root out corruption and defeat the insurgency of Boko Haram in the North, relying on nothing else than on the worsening living conditions, with food prices soaring higher and higher, inflation at a double digit.
In a recent editorial by the Punch Newspaper x-raying the economy it states as followed:
The economy is very much disarticulated, with virtually nothing to show in the product space apart from hydrocarbons. These fundamental structural economic deficiencies must be addressed to achieve sustainable growth and poverty eradication.
A quick checklist: unemployment is prohibitively high at 33.3 per cent. The World Bank says 98 million persons or 47.3 per cent of the population live in poverty, reaffirming Nigeria as the world’s poverty headquarters. The naira plunged further recently to a record low to exchange at N530 to US$1, invariably deepening inflation in an import-dependent economy. Inflation is 17.75 per cent, and food inflation at 21.83 per cent, which means millions can no longer afford three meals daily.
In the very face of an outcry of its dismal failure for a regime that has completed a term, and passed the midterm of a second tenure, one cannot but help to wonder what remarkable difference can be effected in the remaining less than eighteen months of its existence, if not more of the same dosage that has resulted into the worse ever living conditions for the working masses.
Yet the Buhari regime demonstrates that it is completely cut off from the working masses, as it continues to applaud itself, with its apologists stating that Buhari is the greatest thing that has ever happened to the country. According to its chief Spoke person, Mr. Femi Adesina: “From infrastructure to finance, education, healthcare, sports, anti-corruption, human development, housing, oil and gas …the Administration is recording giant strides, enough to make Nigerians proud.”
One cannot help but wonder if Adesina is referring to the same country-Nigeria, and if it is so, who of the two in reality is correct, except that it confirms the “two in one country in every capitalist society”, and that the Spokeperson is limiting himself to x-raying the country of the rich leaving aside the vast millions of the working masses condemned to live in permanent penury in the same country that has officially be designated as the poverty’s capital of the world.
The very people from whose blood and daily toil, the wealth of the country is generated and completely appropriated to serve only the luxurious needs of the capitalist bosses and their cronies in government. The first quote above insists that the economy is “disarticulated”, that is it is in complete disarray, and we shall attempt an examination of the key sectors in relation to how it affects the working masses and see if we would not draw the same conclusion.
ENERGY, ELECTRICITY, AND STEEL INDUSTRY
All of the noise generated regime after regime that the economy would be diversified, which has been the running slogan for privatisation and deregulation of the economy for over four decades since the Second Republic, when the Shagari administration launched its “Austerity Measure” through to the “Structural Adjustment Programme of the IBB regime and the full blown deregulation and privatization policies both under the PDP 16 years rule and the APC, oil continues to be the major driving force of the economy with close to 78% of all income in the economy generated from it.
The quest by the ruling elites to provide a new framework for regulating and transforming the mechanism of how the oil and gas sector operates, which began in 2008 when the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) was first presented to the National Assembly. At long last the Buhari regime can claim credit for the successful passage of the bill, and the president assenting to it on the 16 August 2021 as the Petroleum Industry Act 2021(PIA). Apologists have gone to the rooftop with shout of joy that the “game changer” for the industry has arrived, when in reality it seeks to do nothing more than bring about a full scale privatization of the industry in a way and manner that private capital will be able to reap more profit from the industry at the expense of the country’s need for funds to meet the needs of the working masses.
According to the GMD of the NNPC Mele Kyari, PIA will bring about a “clearly competitive physical framework, where you get to see opportunities on where you can put your money and also get back your money with some benefits”5, it aims no further than to transform “the environment of doing business” no more no less. Yet the very question of development the human capacity of the country both in onshore and offshore operations of the industry is clearly of no concern to the ruling elites.
As with all other sector of the economy, it is comfortable to win over foreign investors, raking as much as possible through under table deals, apportioning oil wells to itself and their fronts, cronies appointed as board of directors to preside over the fritting away of the wealth of the country by private capital, while little or nothing is left in the coffers of the country.
We must next examine the content of PIA and see if in reality any fundamental change will be brought about in the oil and gas industry on the basis of this new legislation. Yet the very first is the question of oil wells, award of oil licenses and lease, which was previously and exclusive power exercised by the Minister of Petroleum, this power is now that of the Upstream Regulatory Commission (URC), with the Minister only expected to act on the recommendation of the URC under a time frame of 90 days in respect to award of oil wells, NNPC becomes NNPC Limited. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPR) are scrapped, as well as the Petroleum Equalisation Fund, and replaced by two new regulators the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA). Nothing has taken place here outside of a change of name.
PIA also introduces an Environmental Remediation Fund, to help handle oil spillage, which in reality is freeing the oil companies from the burden and responsibility of handling their own spillage messes and making it that of the federal government. Host Community Development Trust Fund (HCDTF) also comes on board and it will have 3% of the profit of the NNPC Limited. This is a substantial reduction from the 10% initially proposed by the Yar’Adua in 2008 when the bill was first initiated.
We now have a Frontier Exploration Fund, sourced from 30% of the profit from NNPC Limited to hunt for oil in Anambra, Gongola, Benue, Bida, Sokoto, Chad and Dahoney, so as to boost the oil reserves of the country that is currently at 37 billion barrels. This is inspite of the billions that has been wasted in the Yola basin without any result to it.
These are the main features of PIA which according to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva will bring about “exponential growth in the oil and gas sector.” The working masses cannot be deceived; it is so crafted to impact on Big Business. Oil well/ block both licensing and leasing is now made easier, nothing changes, since ownership will largely be restricted to the circle of political cronies and fronts of the ruling elites; they are now guaranteed a faster approval process to make quick cash, since in reality they will not be coming with any level of expertise outside of claiming a legal ownership and as a consequence become speculators wholesaling the oil wells to the multinational oil companies.
We now also have the 30% versus 3% allocation to exploration in the North and abroad, and to the host communities respectively. The former provides nothing but legal cover for diverting the resources of the country into private pockets of members of the ruling elites. Even the so called 3% to host communities will in the end impact very little or nothing outside of having some few members in the community buttered.
PIA completely ignores the fact that the globe is gradually in a transition to green and cleaner energy, there is nothing to show or indicate a policy direction for Nigeria in this regard. Fossils fuel gets 30% underestimated to be no less than $400 million USD annually for new exploration. Already as at August 2021, even without PIA the Buhari regime has spent N20.681bn on oil exploration in the north.
This is aside the fact that exploration in the North of the country has been on for the past three decades draining hundreds of millions yearly without any success story,6 and interestingly not out of any single clear scientific survey stating the potential success result of such exploration but merely on the flexing of the muscle of the dominance of the Northern wing of the ruling elites to also want to pride themselves that oil exists in their area of origin, even when it is clear that it also is not spurred by any genuine interest in improving the lot of the Northern working masses, who currently suffer the worst of conditions in all perimeters and indexes of human development, it currently homes 87% of the poor people of the country.
We therefore do not disagree with Teniola Tayo, Research Officer, with the Lake Chad Basin Programme, when he states that “… what the north needs is jobs. Crude oil production, being capital-intensive, cannot fill this role. Instead it could lead to the loss of livelihoods through the pollution of agricultural lands and fishing sites. Oil exploration in Nigeria’s north may only increase its developmental gap with the south. It may also worsen the security situation by raising the stakes for resource capture between the state and violent extremists looking to take over the region”
The question of industrialization is completely ignored, the ruling elites does not see the need to spend the resources of the country in tackling the question of mass unemployment by vigourously taking this course, the oil and gas industry suffers from the same neglect like the other sectors of the economy, it is still largely dominated and controlled by foreign multinational companies like Dutch Shell, Total, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, all aspect of the industry both in the area of the production of crude oil and fuel for local consumption and usage in the country.
It is clear that the NNPC cannot muscle up the strength to compete with the multinational oil companies given the refusal to develop the necessary human and technical capacity and expertise’s covering all areas of the industry and end its dependence on foreigners, the ruling elites are comfortable with limiting the country to the rental role of mainly collecting commissions.
Those who even gain allocations of oil well, at the end sell them over to the foreign companies, by so doing denying the country of the wealth and job opportunity generation that would have developed from an alternative arrangement that seeks to bring the oil production under the democratic control of the working people, which leaves the country at the complete mercy of private profiteers. The President says that the country lost $50 billion dollars in the last 10 years in its dilly dallying at signing the law, so how much will it not lose with the signing of the law.
In May of this year Shell has put the country on notice of its intention to disinvest from its onshore oil fields; this is aside the fact that in the past decade it had sold 50% of its oil assets in the country. The CEO, Ben van Beurden, is quoted to have stated that SHELL “cannot solve community problems in the Niger Delta, that’s for the Nigerian government perhaps to solve. We can do our best, but at some point in time, we also have to conclude that this is an exposure that doesn’t fit with our risk appetite anymore.”
It is therefore not impossible then that PIA is seeing the light of the day as a plea and assurance to the oil companies to make it easier for more super profit to be reaped from the country. This is the basis of the aim of the entire Environmental Remediation Fund. As pointed out above the oil and gas industry is not benefiting from the huge funds it brings into the country to develop it further, the existing refineries are not fully functional, in June 2020, the NNPC had informed that the three of the nonfunctional refineries costed the country N10.2 billion, this is inspite of the fact that there was a zero production of crude oil.
The same report informs that in between 2014 to 2018 the country lost N1.64 trillion. Regime after regime have continued to use the state of the refineries as conduit pipe to loot the treasury in the name of so called “Turn Around Maintenance” without any improvement in their productive capacity, even when it sought to privatized them, it turned out a failed exercise. Not necessarily because the refineries cannot be turned around or have become too archaic but merely from the fact that for private profiteers the only language they understands is the making of quick solid cash with very little or even nothing sowed, it lacks the patience to invest and wait it out in the future to reap from such an investments of capital, first from the capacity that it lacks it, or do not have enough on its own terms to muster such a huge fund, without ruining its lifestyle and status. And yet with its policy of deregulation and privatization, the state that can muscle the wealth and resources of society to bring into being the necessary funds for such an investment is so prevented from doing so.
And in the same vein government fails to take up the task of constructing new ones, and the reason is obvious, the importation of fuel for local consumption has become a huge profit raking venture for members of the ruling elites and the private local profiteers in the country. For country whose current daily local consumption figure is placed at 72. 07million litres10
This is a ready source of cheap income, and aided by a so called subsidy regime now renamed “under recovery” through which a majority of their cronies and friends act as fronts to steal the country blind. How else would one explain that in February 2018 the NNPC gave a figure of 35 million litres as the country’s daily litres consumption, in April 2021 it was 55.59 million and in May it grew wantonly to 72.07 million litres. Of course officially it is blamed on smuggling, what is lost vie this track cannot be compared to the bogey of subsidy, which is nothing more than a way to empower the local oil barons from state coffers.
With oil price stabilizing growing high, Nigeria has suffered the worst of both opposite phase of lower prices meaning shortage in revenue and the ruling elites turning to the working masses calling for tightening of the belt, and in the reverse it benefits nothing, if anything it again suffers the burden to have to pay a higher figure locally for the use of petroleum products. This is all there is to PIA to make it easier for Big Business to be able to reap more profit at the expense of the working masses. The working masses these past three decades have been witness to the repeated bogey of removing subsidy from oil products, its programme of deregulation and privatization is so aimed to make cows of the working masses, and milked them to the bone at the expense of their well being.
The General strike actions beginning from 2000 are themselves indicative of the desire of the working masses to oppose capitalism, but the labour leaders prove to be the obstacle, given their failure to clearly pose a socialist alternative. Yet strike after strike actions the trade union leaders have continuously demonstrated their unwillingness to provide the leadership with which to defeat these policies, even with all of the assured support of the working masses coming forward in their millions into the arena of struggle, united in actions in opposition to the ruinous capitalist policies of deregulation and privatization that the ruling elites are blind bent on imposing on them.
A decade ago in 2012, the working masses were all out in their strength and muscle against the Jonathan regime resisting the policies of deregulation and privatization of the oil industry, which in reality translates to nothing more than higher prices for the use of petroleum products to guarantee more profits for the oil barons. The potentials of the working class to take up the task of rescuing the country is here demonstrated in the General strike actions, if it would step forward fully, and go beyond agitations for reforms and placing the demands on the ruling class and come on to the road of Revolution, with its political organization and in its own name, but for this to be achieved it must clear away from its path all obstacles, including the bureaucracy of the trade unions, who constantly have shown to the working masses, that they do not intend go beyond making noise and barking at the ruling elites, assuring the ruling elites at every opportunity that they will not do anything to hurt the capitalist system rather than do such they will prefer to betray the working masses, by denying, denouncing and demobilising them from independently going ahead and dutifully to the interest of the ruling elites by playing the role of holding the working masses down.
Buhari’s ‘Decade OF Gas’
The so called “Decade of Gas” declared by the Buhari regime has nothing in it to make gas easily affordable for domestic usage, it had employed the double sword at both ends against the working masses, priced kerosene out of the market, forcing a turn to gas usage for domestic cooking in their various homes; and then completely dependent on it, priced it out of the reach of the working masses.
But the logic of profit has taking turn on gas resulting into …100% increase making it completely unaffordable for the working masses. Even the so called removal of VAT from the domestic use of gas, has had no consequence on it. And yet the country has the 9th largest global gas reserves with over 200 Tcf, but as expected nothing significant is happening here to make it a global player in the international market or in turn make it available for the working masses for domestic usage.
In the same way that her status as the 8th highest producer of oil in the world speaks nothing else but the utter of the failure of the ruling elites to confront to confront underdevelopment and end the prevalence of poverty as the condition of existence for the vast majority of the working masses.
With prices currently at $85.04 USD. And Nigeria OPEC quota at 1. 554 million barrels per day. The country has earned huge wealth from oil these past six decades with nothing on hand to show for it
The PIA fails also to address the question of debt owed by oil companies both foreign and local who currently are indebted to a tune of $6.48 billion USD. According to Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) audit report for 2019, this debt stems from unpaid petroleum profit taxes, company income taxes education tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), Withholding Tax, royalty oil, royalty gas, unremitted gas flare penalties and concession rentals. For a regime that spent close to 97% of her earning last year to service debts, you cannot but wonder why the FG is not offering the same measure to her own debtors. This is the naked logic of capitalism to give more to those who have and take away the little of those who have little.
The World Bank in a recent report ranked Nigeria 171 out of 190 countries surveyed in relation to citizen access to electricity. According to it, only 85 million or “47% of Nigerians do not have access to grid electricity and those who do have access, face regular power cuts.” The Nigerian economy loses $28 billion or N10.1 trillion or two per cent of its GDP”
All of the effort of the ruling elites these 60 years at electricity is a mere pittance of 5,000MW, even this it is incapable of transmitting and distributing successfully to the users end leaving us fluctuating between 2,500MW and 4, 000MW at best. As at 2018, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) states that there are 5.7 million households, 51,000 industries and over 770,000 commercial enterprises that access the national grid. And yet for a country already above 200 million, the UN puts forward a minimum of 170, 000MW.
So the scorecard for the ruling class in Nigeria when it comes to electricity is 5/170. We can do nothing else now than recognize the fact that the Ruling class refuses to acknowledge its failure on this score, even when set visions and target to increase power generation by the PDP, for the whole 16 years it was in power, was not attained.
In 2013 the Jonathan regime launched a privatization programme that they claimed was to remedy the situation in the electricity sector, 8 years after we are as worse off. The Buhari regime despite the widespread support and endorsement it got when it came to power, has proved incapable of reversing the privatisation, and nationalize the commanding heights of the economy, to access the needed funds with which to generate as much as 40,000MW as a start, investing as well in alternative energy and electricity source, like solar, wind, coal etc. to increase it within a decade to 100, 000MW.
But no it prefers to continue to dispense the same failed prescription of neoliberal capitalism, which in reality only makes out the working masses as ATM from which the private profiteers enrich themselves. So we hear nothing else than a diagnosis that reduces the issue in the sector to one of the non-existence of cost-reflective tariff, not bearing in mind the wages of the working masses, tariffs have been increased without any improvement in electrical power supply. As thing stand the working masses are forced to literally pay for darkness in most communities.
With Iron and steel, it is a complete zero effort, all direct effort by the ruling elites have completely been abandoned. Yet it continues to scream that it will take 100 million people out of poverty, when it refuses to take the very step of developing the means of production, by investing adequately to ensure a functional steel industry, given the fact that it impacts on the structure, infrastructure and machinery production of nearly all sectors of the economy and by so doing defining ultimately the functionality of the economy itself.
According to a report credited to the Central Bank of Nigerian (CBN) the country spends $4.5 billion annually on the importation of steel products, one will think this huge figure will force government to not just turn attention to the steel industry, but to prioritize the steel industry, by investing the needed fund that will ensure its development for benefit of the country.
The ambitious step taken in 1979 by the Shehu Shagari regime with the establishment of the Ajaokuta Steel rolling Mill, what was designed to be the “largest steel making plant in Sub-Saharan Africa” with a combined capacity of producing 5.2 million metric tonnes of steel per annual, this was followed up with the establishment of the Delta Steel Company in Aladja in 1982 with an installed capacity of 1.0 MT annually. Yet the fact on the ground is that all of these efforts have fundamentally been of no major consequence to steel production in Nigeria.
And yet there is no dispute to the fact that the country is abundantly endowed with iron ore, it has a 2 billion Metric Tonnes reverse, the second largest in Africa and the 12th in the world. Nor is Nigeria lacking in coal, limestone, gas and indeed all of the other basic raw materials with which to produce steel and other allay products to meet all of her need and as well as produce in commercial quantities and break the complete dependence on oil alone as the sole dominant foreign exchange earner for the country.
What then is the issue, why has regime after regime, military and civilian despite the deafening trumpet blast from the rooftop to diversify the economy have government still refuse to take the necessary step, even have gone as far to plunge state funds into Ajaokuta, why not follow it up to the final execution. Even the National assembly has had to pose the same question to the Buhari regime. The house of Representative in 2018 came out to oppose another attempt to concession the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill, stating that the country needed only 500 million dollars to complete it.
The senate have gone to the extent of putting forward and passing the “Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill 2018”, among other things the bill legislate that $1 billion dollars be made available from the Excess Crude account revenue for this purpose. We need not mention that this was turned down, the President refuses to accent to the bill on the false excuse that there were “competing priorities with [greater] long term social and economic impact” for the country in need of funds than the steel industry.
And you cannot but wonder what this long term social and economic impact has been felt these past seven years of budgets targeted specifically by the regime to revitalize the economy, how that can ever come about without the needed investment in steel. But the working masses need not be alarmed; Buhari is no stranger to the barber chair game of being caught in between parroting patriotism to the nation state and patronizing loyalty to the economic model of neo-liberal capitalism. His overthrow in 1985 is not unconnected to his middle line opposition, dilly dallying between both ends and not fully coming out to support the interest of Big Business both inside and outside of Nigeria.
So this time around he leaves no room to be doubted where he belongs, in belonging “to everybody and to nobody”, he had announced to the entire crop of the ruling class that he was in power to implement their agenda and the dilly dally with the IMF/World Bank in his first coming would not be repeated. Buhari is therefore very careful to not give room for bourgeois apologists both at home and abroad to go on the offensive against him that he is undermining the entrenchment of the neoliberal capitalist policies of deregulation and privatization.
The obvious script dictating and directing every step of the Buhari regime is capitalism; it is the adherence to this philosophy that makes Buhari rejects the bill. Yet not completing Ajaokuta continues to serve a particular purpose for the ruling elites, a conduit pipe with which to siphon the wealth of the country into the pockets of members and cronies of the ruling elites. Between 2016 -2021 the same Buhari had budget N20.4bn to Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited.
For a company that had already been 98% completed, what can be holding it back and yet the alternative of concession and privatization is still been put forward by government, the working masses can no longer be deceived, this government like others in the past dances to the tune as piped and played by the IMF/World Bank. Dr. Sanusi Mohammed, the Executive Secretary of African Iron and Steel Association, informs us better on this, hear him out: “Unfortunately, the World Bank has taken keen interest in Nigeria’s steel development programme since around 1987 for a number of reasons.
In 1987, the World Bank insisted Nigeria must carry out economic assessment of its steel industry, and then dictated the company that will carry it out the review – a Canadian firm, Hacht Associates. The firm picked a few Nigerians to do the work and they came up with a 139-page report condemning the Ajaokuta Steel Company particularly. It is cheaper to import steel than produce, according to the report. We attacked that report because it was not genuine, it was something to kill Africa’s eagerness to get out of the enclave of colonialism.
Again in the 1990s, the same Hacht Associates was invited through a privatization agency and they wrote a report in which they said they conducted an extensive tour of the market and the industry, including the Ajaokuta Steel Company, in two weeks. They came out with another damning report – Ajaokuta was not worth it! Now, we’ve learnt that there is another committee, or is it a consultancy firm, that has been given the mandate to assess the steel sector in Nigeria and part of what they have they have been mandated to do is to advise the Nigerian government on whether to continue with the steel industry development programme or encourage importation of steel.
They also were to look at the possibility of continuing with Ajaokuta steel whether through a joint venture, outright sale or concession or whether to close it permanently.” We have gone to this extent to quote from Dr. Sanusi Mohammed, so as to clearly point out to the working masses, that the Buhari regime is acting on a script and would dare not lift a finger to go against imperialism and its interest and it will continue with its cry for concession and privatization.
Even the terrible experience under Obasanjo with the Indian firm, Global Infrastructure demonstrates to all that capitalism prioritizes profit making over and above production or meet the productive need of steel industry in Nigeria, when Billions of dollars over the years has been invested… The grandiose scheme of privatization is nothing but a conduit pipe…, again we turn to Dr. Sanusi Mohammed to throw light on this for us.
“The Indian firm, Global Infrastructure that was brought in as concessionaires to Ajaokuta came in through fraudulent arrangements. We advised the government that these are not the right people. But before we knew it Delta Steel Company, an investment of $1.5 billion dollars of public money was sold to them outrightly for $30 million. To even show how corrupt the system is, Obasanjo himself approved $45 million to rehabilitate a rolling mill in Delta Steel Company and $45 million was paid fully to the companies given the contract for rehabilitation. They brought in spare parts, they started work on the rehabilitation before Obasanjo suddenly decided to sell Delta Steel Company two years after for $30 million.
The so-called investors ran the company down, destroyed it and did not bring a single dollar to Nigeria. They were taking loans from Nigerian Banks [to a total of N31 Billion Naira that was never paid], using the assets of the Delta Steel Company as collateral. Today AMCON has taken over Delta Steel, the Indians went to court and the court delivered judgement a month ago that the Indians wanted to destroy the plant and AMCON was right to take over the company.
So, the so-called Indian Infrastructure Holding Company is a failure. They could not even manage the only company they owned in India, a three million tone plant and they had to sell it out. If they cannot run a steel plant in their own country, how can they come to another country and be successful?” So where do we turn to from here when the Buhari regime through the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, after inspecting a steel facility in Kaduna, owned by the African Natural Resources and Mines Limited, that would soon commence production and she is quoted as saying that this $1.5 billion dollar private investment will would kick start the “steel revolution in Nigeria”.
This is the end goal of neo-liberalism in Nigeria, to ensure that all of the key sectors are owned and dominated by private capital, and government must see to it that it is not a competitor; this is the creed and the very same approached employed in the communication, electricity sectors and now in the steel industry.
So with a private steel company in the wood work, Buhari can beat his chest up to Big Business that he has delivered, and that delivery process would demand that the last aspect of the report referred to by Dr. Sanusi Mohammed, that proposes a “close it down permanently” of Ajaokuta is also achieved, this is the import of the Presidential taskforce on Steel established by the presidency in 2020 after rejecting to sign the “Ajaokuta Steel Company Completion Fund Bill 2018”, possible not immediately since Ajaokuta service the pastime of the ruling elites as a easy means to steal funds out of the treasury.