After weeks of speculation and back and forth, the federal government has finally taken a position that it is not selling any national assets in order to raise funds for reflating the economy.
This denial was made by the federal minister of information, Lai Mohammed at the National Executive Council Meeting in Abuja yesterday (Wednesday). According to him “Whatever you must have heard are mere suggestions and speculations”.
He pointed that the Federal Economic Council is just another arm of the National Executive Council that can advise the government and their decisions are not binding on the NEC “The position of the NEC is the position of the government”.
One of the key members of the FEC, the Federal Minister for Petroleum Resources Emmanuel Kachikwu said earlier this month that “We’re looking at this very feverishly because the other alternative is to go mass borrowing. But there’s a limit to your borrowing cap and we’re fairly close to that tipping point where you really can’t borrow anymore otherwise you can’t sustain the borrowing. The other thing to look at is your assets and rights that can be turned into cash.”
The denial of the federal government to sell any national asset shows that the government must have weighed the challenges involved in the sale of assets.
This might further calm tensions as the generality of Nigerian public opinion has voiced opposition to the asset sale. THe Nigerian Senate has also voted against asset sale owing to the fact that Bukola Saraki, the Senate President supported the move by raising it in the house.
Last week Nigeria and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote had suggested in New York at his speech at the U.S-Africa Business Forum that Nigerian might need to sell some national assets and as well borrow to raise about USD15 billion to bring the country out of recession.
Dangote’s suggestions was also greeted with opposition from a major section of Nigeria’s business community who argued that previous sales have not yielded any major result.
With the apparent shelving of national asset sale, Nigerian might be going ahead with its plan to sell Eurobonds, access USD1 billion loan from the African Development Bank, AfDB and perhaps go ahead to concession some assets that might bring in the needed Forex to defend the Naira (NGN) and inflation the economy.