By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Plans by the Federal Government to sell some national monuments and power plants to finance the 2018 budget have continued to generate reactions.
On Monday, government informed House of Representatives that it would sell the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) in Lagos, the National Arts Theatre also in Lagos and some selected power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) to fund the appropriation bill.
A Senator from Kaduna State and critic of the government, Mr Shehu Sani, described the move as “unacceptable.”
The lawmaker disclosed that these monuments should not be sold because they remain “priceless edifices of our history.”
He vowed to “stand against it on the floor of the Senate” when the matter is put up for debate at the plenary.
“The proposal to sell off the National Theatre and Tafawa Balewa Square in order to finance the 2018 budget is unacceptable.
“These are our national monuments and priceless edifices of our history. I will stand against it in the floor of the Senate,” Mr Sani said via his verified Twitter handle on Tuesday.
According to the Director General of Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze, the proposed sale is to generate sufficient revenue to finance the country’s annual budgets for the next three years (2018-2020) because government was generating too little revenue.
Speaking at the hearing, he said Federal Government’s non-core assets from the mines and steel sector like houses and estates are part of items slated for sale.
Proceeds from the privatisation of the assets would be used to finance the budget deficit of N2.005 trillion, much of which will be financed through domestic and foreign borrowings, he said, adding that the aspect had been factored into the 2018 budget.
“We are generating too little revenue, hence we are borrowing. If we generate enough, borrowing ratio will drop,” he said.
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