Privatization versus Nationalization - Nigerian versus Venezuelan Experience

Venezuela and Nigeria are both oil-rich countries. But in Venezuela we have a genuine attempt at poverty alleviation, which has brought the Bolivarian regime into conflict with imperialism. In Nigeria, where Obasanjo even refuses to acknowledge that poverty exists, the regime has very good relations with imperialism

The ongoing developments in Venezuela sharply contradict the existing state of things here in Nigeria. They attract the attention of right-thinking individuals, not only because the situation in Venezuela questions the foundation of bourgeois economic argument on privatisation as being championed by the IMF and World Bank, it also strongly demonstrates that the only genuine basis for sound economic growth remains socialism, especially for developing countries.

Despite all the attempts of international capital led by the USA, to misrepresent the events going on in Venezuela, to paint a picture of complete economic destruction and woe, to present to the world the idea that Chavez (Venezuela President) is most hated and most confused, they have remained unsuccessful in the face of the masses. For example, a recent news article in the Washington Post referred to "Hugo Chavez, the populist Venezuelan president whose giveaways to the poor have slowed economic progress…”

The reality on the ground paints a completely different picture. Reality shows that Obasanjo (Nigerian president), who is presented by the USA as a messiah, is actually most hated by his people. Chavez has over 72% support of his people. Nigeria is facing a profound economic stagnation over the coming years and the IMF and World Bank are commending her for this. Figures show clearly that, while the IMF and World Bank condemn Venezuelan economic reform, the economy is actually growing. Capitalism works for the few while the majority must suffer to sustain it. This explains the contradiction that now exists between the reality on the ground and IMF comments.

It is of interest to note that the Obasanjo regime carries out the dictates of the IMF/World Bank from A to Z, while Chavez is doing carrying out the dictates of his people. For Nigeria, poverty has risen, while for Venezuela poverty is reducing.

The bourgeois economists argued that it is almost impossible to develop a modern economy with nationalization of the economy. They advised the regimes of the “developing” countries to take the path of outright sales of their national wealth. But figures from Venezuela prove otherwise. Venezuela's economy continued its rapid expansion and grew by 9.3% in the first half of 2005, relative to the first half of 2004, according to official figures of Venezuela's Central Bank (BCV). The GDP increase in the second quarter of 2005, relative to the second quarter of 2004, was 11.1%. According to the bank, most of this economic growth occurred in the non-oil sectors of the economy, which grew by 12.2% in the second quarter, while the oil sector grew by a mere 2.5% (Venezuelanalysis.com).

While Obasanjo is ruining the refineries to make it easier for profiteers to make money, Chavez has built three refineries in three years and this is reducing the price of oil rather than increasing it as is happening in Nigeria. All non-oil sectors grew strongly in the second quarter. Manufacturing grew by 12.4%, commerce and repair services by 21.5%, construction by 20.3%, the government services sector by 7.4%.

According to a report by the Latin American economic research institution CEPAL, Venezuela's economy will be the second fastest growing economy in 2005, with an estimated economic growth of 7.0% for 2005. Only Argentina, with a growth of 7.3% is predicted to grow faster. The economic growth for the entire region is expected to be 4.3% for 2005, according to CEPAL (Venezuelanalysis.com).

Although Venezuela has a very long way to go, and it has started well along the way of economic breakthrough, according to Chavez himself, there are only two options before humanity: either Socialism (Trotskyism) or Barbarism.

Nigeria under Obasanjo has embraced the IMF and World Bank and therefore it has embraced barbarism, insecurity, economic collapse and political instability.

A government of the working class with a socialist programme is the only kind of government that can save us and avoid a blood bath and further destruction of our collective wealth. Venezuela is giving us an example of how to start managing the economy for the people in the interest of the people and by the people.