•We are looking at assets lying down and in some cases, even completely rundown
The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, yesterday said only moribund state assets would be sold to fund the 2021 federal budget.
Following the disclosure by Ahmed on January 12 that the federal government’s plan to sell some of its assets and use the money generated to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget, some concerned Nigerians warned that selling such public assets would hurt Nigeria in the future.
But Ahmed, who spoke on a television programme yesterday, said only non-performing public assets would be sold to the private sector and that it would be to the benefit of Nigerians, including boosting the economy.
Though, the minister did not list the assets to be sold, she noted that they are properties that could not be managed by the government and “are not providing any benefit to Nigerians in their current state.”
Ahmed said: “A lot of 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.
“Yes, the privatisation process is an ongoing process. Every year in our annual budget, we have a provision for privatisation proceeds – from the sale of the government’s assets. There are some assets that have been scheduled for sale for years.
“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 are lying down and in some cases even completely rundown, to cede them off to the private sector.
“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.”
She said the Bureau of Public Enterprises would in the first quarter of this year begin to coordinate with other arms of government on the asset sales.