The selling off of Nigeria’s national assets has been in many discussions over the past few days with many arguing in favor and others arguing against the idea.
The chairman of the Dangote group, Aliko Dangote is one of the voices in support of the selling of some of the national assets to tackle the recession, especially Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG).
He said: “The only way for us to get out of this recession is to make sure we move into action quickly; by diversifying the economy quickly.
“If I had challenges in my company, I would not hesitate to sell assets to remain afloat, to get to the better times. It doesn’t make any sense for me to keep any assets and then suffocate the whole organisation.
“We have a lot of assets to sell. We can sell part of the joint ventures, or part of the shares. My suggestion before was that they should even sell 100 percent of NLNG. I don’t think government should be in any business of investing in sectors like LNG.”
Shettima Gana tells Buhari While, popular lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), is against the sale for reasons he pointed out, he said:
“It is pertinent to point out that the suggestion 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.
“Indeed, by section 44 of the Constitution the nation’s natural resources shall be held in trust for the Nigerian people by the federal government.”
However if the president is going to consider selling some national assets to help salvage the economy, there are some things he must never sell:
The assets are
1) NLNG Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG)
NLNG is one of Nigeria’s biggest oil companies, employing a large workforce of Nigerians. Like Femi Falana rightly pointed out, most buyers engage in asset-stripping, the sale of NLNG will definitely result in loss of jobs and the placing of one of Nigeria’s prime assets in private hands who may not have the same goals.
The refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna are among the national assets the President is asked to consider selling. This however might be a bad idea because, the loss of thousand of jobs that might be an unintended consequence.
The sale of refineries might also lead to an increase in fuel price. Given the current state of the Nigerian economy, a hike in fuel price is the last thing the country needs.
Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is another of the nation’s assets that the president is being encouraged to sell. However this might be a bad idea because privatization exercises have not had a good success rate in Nigeria.
Speaking through the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), led by Joe Ajaero, warned that any attempt to sell the assets would be resisted as previous privatization exercises only made few privileged individuals to appropriate national assets to the detriment of the general masses.
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