Why We Must Sell National Assets—Finance Minister

January 22, 2021
zainab ahmed finance minister

By Ahmed Rahma

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has explained why the federal government is bent on selling some national assets despite oppositions to this.

Mrs Ahmed, while speaking on Friday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, disclosed that the sale of these “moribund” government properties would benefit Nigerians and boost the nation’s economy.

She argued that some of these controversial governments assets were currently moribund and provide little or no value to Nigerians in their current state.

“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.

“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 is lying down and in some cases even completely rundown, to cede them off to the private sector,” she submitted.

Business Post had earlier reported that the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) had appealed to the National Assembly to stop the government of President Muhammadu Buhari from selling the public properties.

The group had in a statement issued last Sunday advised the government to cut salaries and allowances of its top officials for the funding of the 2021 budget rather than selling public assets.

“The National Assembly has a constitutional and oversight responsibility to protect valuable public properties and to ensure responsible budget spending.

“Disposing of valuable public properties to fund the budget was not in the public interest and would be counter-productive, as the action would be vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement,” the group had noted in its letter to the parliament.

Recall that on January 12, Mrs Ahmed had revealed the government’s plan to sell public assets to partly finance the N13.58 trillion 2021 budget.

Speaking further on this today, the Minister stressed that 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.”

She added that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) will begin to coordinate with other arms of government on the asset sales in the first quarter of the year.

“In last week of December, we had a meeting of the National Council on Privatisation where we approved the annual work plan, the 2021 work plan, for that Bureau of Public Enterprises,” she said.

“And I guess it is in this first quarter that the BPE will now be engaging the Senate committee and other committees they work with to say this is our work plan for the year,” she said.

Rahma Ahmed

Ahmed Rahma is a journalist with great interest in arts and craft. She is also a foodie who loves new ideas. She loves to travel and would love to visit other African countries someday. She is a sucker for historical movies and afrobeat.

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