The National Economic Council, NEC, on Thursday agreed that selling some national assets was one of the measures the government needs to take to get the country out of recession.
This was revealed in the highlights of the meeting at the Villa presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
This came after calls by notable Nigerians including Aliko Dangote, Senate President Bukola Saraki as well as the Emir of Kano, Mohammed Sanusi II, who all advised the government to sell the assets and use the proceeds or infrastructural development.
However, the proposition has generated various kinds of reactions from other notable Nigerians. Below are their views:
Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu
“UAE does not even allow you close to oil wells let alone sell them.
“For a country like Saudi Arabia, its budget each year is run by investments from oil revenue. Other countries are investing; I am sure we will not be fair to the next generation if we sell off our assets.
“If we must sell, we have to sell the non-performing assets so that people can turn them around and create employment.”
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege(LP), Delta Central Senatorial District
O the floor of the Senate on Thursday, he said: “Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, I vehemently opposed sales of national assets particularly the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) which generates over $22billion annually.
“If the nation sold its asset as a result of recession, if in 20 years time, there was a repeat of recession, what would they sell?”
NLC President, Ayuba Wabba
“The recent call by Aliko Dangote for the sale of the national shareholdings in the NLNG and the suggestions by the senate president that the shares, along with other sovereign assets in the oil and aviation sectors, be sold to stem the current economic recession are unacceptable to NLC.
“Investments in the NLNG and Joint Venture oil upstream operations are profitable and represent potential sources of revenue in the future.
“For example, it was the accrued dividend payments from NLNG shares that provided the resources for the first bailout to states when many states could not pay salaries under this present regime. It is on record that dividends, in excess of $1 billion have accrued annually to the national coffers from the gas company over the past 12 years.
“These calls are more worrisome when one considers the history of sovereign assets divestiture in the past. Where are the proceeds from sales of these assets?
Femi Falana SAN
At a press confrence, the Lagos based lawyer said the suggestion was unconstitutional as it is in total conflict with section 16 of the Constitution which has prohibited the concentration of the nation’s wealth in the hands of a few people or a group.
Executive Director of Caritas International, an arm of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Rev Fr Evaristus Bassey:
“We seem to disagree with such calls for the sale of national assets; we cannot accept such extremist capitalist views. We cannot subscribe to such views because you cannot sell national assets to private hands.”
Adeyanju Deji, PDP New media director
“I am now tempted to believe they drove us into recession intentionally so they can sell national assets to a few of their friends.
Former minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili
“It seems that the default instinct of our political class is “Sell and Spend”. Sell oil. Spend. Oil fails? Sell assets. Spend. WON’T WORK!
“Changing STRUCTURE of sector to make productive&competitive should rank higher than “merely raising fund” from SALE!
“3 KEY Structural Reforms for FG to whip up with UTMOST URGENCY?
1. Petroleum Sector Deregulation& Liberalization.