For those who are still struggling to understand why the government needs to sell assets to raise cash required to jump-start the economy, the Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has reiterated once again why we need to sell it all.
In an interview granted to some business editors she once again explained the government’s reasons. Here is what she said as reported by Leadership.
On why we need to sell.
‘‘The infrastructure challenges we face are so serious and the kind of money that we need, we can’t borrow because when you have an accumulated deficit, you need to look for the money that will sustain what you are doing for the next three to four years. So, that is what we are looking at and having a more strategic approach so that, over time, we will borrow less, which, of course, is good in the long run,’’
On whether there are suitable assets to sell;
‘‘I think there are lots of assets being considered. There are some unused assets that are just lying idle and people have come and said, ‘These things you are not using, can we lease it from you?’
‘‘I think when you are looking for money, some things that government is sitting on, we don’t have money to do them and so it makes sense for me to unlock those things as it will bring money to the economy at these difficult times so that we can move forward.
I don’t think we have got to the stage where we say it’s this or that asset. The conversation now should be: should we just keep borrowing, or now that things have got to this stage, we should start to dislodge some under-utilized assets. And it’s not exclusive to us: Saudi Arabia is selling some of its oil assets. So if you sell an asset and use it to finance another asset which is going to give you more, then I don’t have a problem with that.’’
On whether Nigerians can still own the assets
‘‘The investor will need to look at the risk and pricing accordingly. We can sell to the Nigerian people or the pension fund and you can also list these assets on the stock exchange. So there are different types of sales,’’ she explained.