The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has explained that the Federal Government wants to sell some of its assets to fund the 2021 Budget because they are currently moribund and provide little or no value in their current state.
This is as she also said that the plan by the government to sell public assets will be of benefit to Nigerians and help boost the economy.
Her reaction follows the public outcry against the move by the Federal Government to sell some of their dead assets to partly fund the 2021 Budget due to a revenue shortfall.
This disclosure was made by Ahmed, during an interview on a monitored Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily, on Friday, January 22, 2021.
What the Minister of Budget and National Planning is saying
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.
“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.’’
Ahmed said, “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.”
”In the 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.
“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.
‘’The critical issue we need to look at, is ‘What assets are we selling?’ Some assets are already liabilities, so what are we keeping them for? That is my humble opinion,” the lawmaker added. “You have to tell us which assets we are looking at, ‘’ she added
What you should know
- There has been a lot of public outcry and criticisms against the Federal Government’s plan to sell some dead public assets to partly fund the N13.58 trillion 2021 budget.
- In a statement on Sunday, civil society group SERAP had asked the National Assembly to stop the federal government from selling public assets to fund the 2021 budget and suggested that government should rather look to identify areas in the budget to cut, such as salaries and allowances for public officials.
- However, on the flip side, a Federal lawmaker from Osun State, Wole Oke, who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, defended the federal government’s plan to sell public assets to fund the budgets.
- He said some of those assets that are to be sold are already liabilities to the government.
- He pointed out that the issue of the sale of assets is not new and said that even in the previous budgets, there have always been other sources of revenue and the sales of assets is one of such. He, however, stressed that the government must be transparent throughout the process.