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Nigerians will benefit from the sale of public assets — Finance minister

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Assets

Oba Darasimi

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said that the generality of Nigerians will benefit from the sale of public assets

Ahmed noted that assets being sold could not be managed by the government, saying  some of them  are moribund and are not providing any benefit to Nigerians in their current state.

She said, “There are some government assets that are dead that can be sold to the private sector to be reactivated and put to use for the benefit of Nigerians.

“Yes, the privatisation process is an ongoing process. Every year in our annual budget, we have a provision for privatisation proceeds – from the sale of the government’s assets. There are some assets that have been scheduled for sale for years.

“So we are looking at different – and I am a member of the National Council on Privatisation – we are looking at different categories of government assets that government has not been able to manage, that are lying down and in some cases even completely rundown, to cede them off to the private sector.

“The intention is not just funding the budget, it is to reactivate these assets and hand it over and have them bring contributions to the growth in the economy.”

Ahmed had last week reportedly confirmed that the Federal Government would sell some-government-owned properties to fund the 2021 budget.

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project had warned that selling public properties to fund the 2021 budget would hurt Nigeria in the future.

The organisation urged the Senate President Dr Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of House of Representatives Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, to review the 2021 appropriation legislation to stop the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), from selling public properties to fund the 2021 budget.

In a letter dated 16 January 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said, “The National Assembly has a constitutional and oversight responsibility to protect valuable public properties and to ensure a responsible budget spending.

“Allowing the government to sell public properties, and to enjoy almost absolute discretion to borrow to fund the 2021 budget would amount to a fundamental breach of constitutional and fiduciary duties.

“The country’s fiscal situation must be changed – and changed quickly – through some combination of cuts in spending on salaries and allowances, and a freeze on spending in certain areas of the budget such as hardship and furniture allowances, entertainment allowances, international travels, and buying of motor vehicles and utilities for members and the Presidency.”

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