The sale of the country’s assets issue is one of the major matters pricking the minds of almost all Nigerians are the moment. whether the action is motivated by genuine reasons or whether it will offset our economic challenges now, or whether it will affect the nation negatively in the future are the considerations of everyone.
Based on this premise an official of the presidency in an anonymous report by Premium Times said that the what the government intends to sell is some percentage of the government’s shareholding in selected asset, and that the government also intends to retain the right to buy back the shares in future, but this decision is yet to be take.
In his words: “The federal government does not own the entire gas company, and will certainly not sell-off its entire shares. Government is open to selling 5 per cent, or thereabout of its 49 per cent shareholding. The decision is yet to be taken at all.
“Although no list has been drawn-up for the proposed asset to be sold, there is a clear decision not to sell any of the country’s critical asset. Certainly, there is no plan to sell-off outright any asset whatsoever.
“Some of the intended sales could be in form of time-bound leases, advance renewal payments on leasing licenses and concession, which would attract buoyant signature fees.” The federal government has been under pressure for a while to sell of some its assets to raise money to tackle Nigeria’s financial crisis.
“In the short run, we can sell assets. Before the government came on board, I had opined that there was need for the government to scale down or sell off some of its investments in oil and gas, particularly in the NNPC and NLNG as at that time when the price of oil was around $50-$55 per barrel.
“We actually commissioned some consultants that conducted the study and, at the end of that study, we were told that if we sold 10% to 15% of our holding in the oil and gas sector, we could realise up to $40 billion.”
But, many Nigerians and groups have kicked against the planned sale.
Professor Chkwuma Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has said the idea was ‘flawed’.
“I am troubled by the proposal to sell some valuable national assets in order to build reserves and provide funds for immediate spending and thus ensure that this recession will be the “shortest” ever.
“Some people had bandied the same suggestion in the past but I largely dismissed it as a joke.”
Yesterday, September 27, the Nigerian Sneate voted against the planned sale, with the Nigerian senators urging the government to find another way to generate funds to tackle the recession.
Already, the organized labour consisting of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria said they are set for mass revolt and civil unrest worse than the anti-SAP riots of 1989 if the government goes ahead with the planned sale.
Nigeria currently holds 49 per cent majority equity holding in the plant, in partnership with Shell BV (25.6 per cent), Total LNG Nigeria Ltd (15 per cent) and Eni (10.4 per cent).