The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, on Friday, January 22, has said that the planned sale of public assets by the Federal Government would be of immense benefit to Nigerians and help to boost the economy.
Zainab Ahmed made this disclosure during an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.
According to the Minister, some government assets are 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,” Zainab Ahmed 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 is lying down and in some cases even completely rundown, to cede them off to the private sector.”
She further 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.”
Ahmed 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 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.