Many wasting national assets could be put to better use

It is unfortunate that several facilities belonging to the federal government continue to lie in waste even when they could be converted to profitable economic assets capable of generating revenues for the nation. What is particularly baffling is that it would appear people in authorities seem not to consider many of these edifices, built over several decades but which currently lay in disuse across the country, as part of what should make up our national wealth.

Apart from the potential positive social impacts being lost, we also believe that these facilities, if put to productive use, can help provide jobs for a considerable number of our young people. Unfortunately, considering the manner these assets are left to rot away by successive governments, we are compelled to believe that their existence do not matter to the country’s policymakers and managers.

It is therefore very sad that these prime assets which are usually premium-valued and parts of what add up to what a country flaunts as its economic strengths are left to waste in Nigeria simply because the federal government has failed to turn them into the economic goods which they actually should be. Today, the story of several of these vital assets owned by the federal government, especially outside Abuja, is that of abandonment. At best, some of them are often put out for no better use than social activities all of which often come at heavy costs to them and the country.

We have seen governments come and go with none of them making it a priority to recover the real values of these assets that are depreciating by the day. Although they are in hundreds, we can easily list a few national assets that today do not add value to the Nigerian economy simply because they are in deep state of disuse. From the National Theatre at Iganmu; to the two National Stadia in Surulere, Lagos and Abuja; the International Trade Fair Complex; Ajaokuta Steel Complex which completion is enmeshed in controversy; Katsina and Jos Steel Rolling Mills; Federal Secretariat in Ikoyi; NECOM House, Marina; and the Tafawa Balewa Square, amongst others, the conditions of these assets are totally appalling.

If we may ask, why is it a huge challenge to the federal government to consider and enact a policy that would guide the use and management of Nigeria’s national assets? What would it take from the government to consider and implement management models for these assets? And if the federal government cannot manage these edifices, why not hand them over to the government of the states where they are domiciled or sell them to private investors so they could be put to some productive use?

We are bothered by the proclivity to the waste of scarce resources in the country, especially at a time the population is growing at an alarming rate and the economy is slowing down. We feel that such national assets should either be turned around for economic benefits to the country, or at best be handed over to entities that can make the most of them so they could create jobs for our people.

On that note, we feel that the ongoing efforts to resolve the long-standing dispute between the federal government and the Lagos State government on federal assets located within the state should be taken more seriously. But beyond that, the efforts should be extended to other states of the federation where there are prime federal assets that are also wasting away. The idea is to give out these public entities to those that are willing to put them into better use.

To be concluded on Friday