By Alexis Akwagyiram and Paul Carsten
LAGOS/ABUJA, Nov 19 – Nigerian opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar will seek to boost investment in the oil sector if he becomes president next year, according to a draft copy of his manifesto.
He plans to re-consider introducing bidding rounds for marginal fields and oil blocks, privatising government-owned crude refineries and issuing new licences for greenfield investments in refineries, the draft said.
In the presidential election scheduled for February, Abubakar, the main opposition People’s Democratic Party candidate, will seek to prevent President Muhammadu Buhari from securing a second term.
Nigeria’s is Africa’s largest producer of crude and remains largely dependent on sales of oil, which make up roughly two-thirds of government revenues, despite years of administration promises to diversify the economy.
Abubakar’s draft re-iterated his plan to partially privatise state oil firm Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He has taken a pro-business stance that he says will boost Nigeria’s economy, which has struggled since Buhari took office.
A large part of that is due to global oil price declines outside the administration’s control, though Buhari’s government has tried to keep tight control of exchange rates as the naira weakened, discouraging foreign investors.
Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram in Lagos and Paul Carsten in Abuja Editing by John Stonestreet