The Federal Government on Saturday adduced reasons why it is imperative for some national assets to be sold off at this point, explaining that government had lost almost half of its expected revenue this year.
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma who stated this in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr Akpandem James, disclosed the proceeds from such sale would be used to fund the expenditure of government as contained in the 2016 budget.
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, had while welcoming his colleagues from a two-month recess re-echoed the suggestions of business mogul, Aliko Dangote, that some of the country’s assets should be sold to steer Nigeria out of the present recession.
Executive must raise capital from asset sales and other sources to shore up foreign reserves. This will calm investors, discourage currency speculation and stabilize the economy. The measures should include part sale of NLNG Holdings; reduction of government share in upstream oil joint venture operations; sale of government stake in financial institutions e.g. Africa Finance Corporation; and the privatization and concession of major/regional airports and refineries,” Saraki stated.
The organised labour have, however, rejected the proposal, urging well-meaning Nigerians to join the fight against surreptitious moves by some businessmen and the political class to acquire the remaining national assets which he said should be preserved in the interest of future generations.
But the Budget minister explained that while the government had mapped out key infrastructural projects that would support its economic diversification agenda, the shortfall in revenue had made it difficult for these projects to be executed.
He pointed out that the unfortunate scenario was what prompted the Economic Management Team to urgently work out a fiscal stimulus plan to generate large funds to be injected into the economy.
The funds, Udoma noted,would be injected through proceeds of asset sales, advance payment for license rounds, infrastructure concession, use of recovered funds, among others, to reduce the funding gap.
He explained that the primary objective of government’s fiscal stimulus plan is not to sell off all major critical national assets, but to source immediate funds to reflate the economy to the path of recovery.