Shuaib Sadiq(Kaduna): The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), on Monday urged the Federal Government to drop the plan to sell-off major national assets to tackle the nation’s economic recession.
The ACF said in a statement issued in Kaduna by Muhammad Ibrahim, its National Publicity Secretary, that selling strategic, viable national assets to take the economy out of recession was inappropriate.
ACF also condemned the call by some prominent politicians and businessmen on the Federal Government to consider selling the national assets to get the country out of recession.
“Past privatisation exercise did not yield the desired result in terms of judicious use of proceeds by the government or management practices of the assets by the new owners.
“ACF considers it unwise for the Federal Government to contemplate selling off major national assets like the Oil refineries, Federal Airports, NLNG.
“They can be used as security against needed funds to boost the economy. “
According to the forum, the amount to be realised is not worth the exercise, adding that the recession is temporary.
ACF noted that national assets; including the Nigeria Airways, National Shipping Line, Ajaokuta Steel Company, NITEL, NEPA, sold to selected Nigerians and their foreign collaborators had not added value to the economy.
It added that most of the sold assets ended up comatose, adding that “the ones that survived, their service delivery cannot be said to be better.”
The ACF said the government should consider the advice of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the commission had said that “Nigeria’s assets like the NLNG and other strategic national resources should not be sold to meet short term financial obligation. “
ACF suggested that unnecessary allowances of public officers and overhead cost that formed over 40 per cent of the annual national budget should be converted to capital allocation to boost the economy.
“This is the time for national sacrifice in order to bequeath an enduring legacy to the next generation. Positive change usually comes with painful necessary sacrifice.
“ACF, however, supports some of the measures proposed by the National Economic Council but seriously objects to the selling of strategic national assets just to get out of a temporary economic recession.
“ACF calls upon our prominent businessmen and women to invest their resources in the oil and gas industry, building of airports that will compete favourably with the public ones.
“This will equally boost the economy through employment and infrastructure development.
‘’Let us put on our thinking cap and do the needful, rather than taking short term measures,“ ACF added in the statement.