The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed has justified the planned sale of public assets by the Federal Government, stating that it would be beneficial to Nigerians and would boost the economy.
She made the statement on Friday while appearing on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
Zainab Ahmed noted that there are some government assets 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,” the Minister said.
“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.
On January 12, Mrs Ahmed had revealed the government’s plan to sell public assets to partly finance the N13.58 trillion 2021 budget.
On Friday, Ms. Ahmed 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 will begin to coordinate with other arms of government on the asset sales in the first quarter of the year.
” . . . 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,” 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.”
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.
The group said the government should, instead, look to identify areas in the budget to cut, such as salaries and allowances for public officials.