The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has added its voice to those opposed to the sale of national assets as a way of tackling the current economic recession in the country.
The group on Monday, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim, called on the Federal Government to drop the idea, insisting that it would be inappropriate to sell off viable national assets under the guise of getting the country out of recession.
The northern social-cultural group said: “Past privatisation exercise did not yield the desired result in terms of judicious use of proceeds by the government or management practices of the assets by the new owners.
“ACF considers it unwise for the Federal Government to contemplate selling off major national assets like the Oil refineries, Federal Airports, NLNG.
“They can be used as security against needed funds to boost the economy. “
The group also contended that what will be realised from the sale of the assets is worth it and that recession is a temporary thing.
According to ACF, national assets, including the Nigeria Airways, National Shipping Line, Ajaokuta Steel Company, NITEL and NEPA that were sold to selected Nigerians and their foreign collaborators are yet to add any value to the economy. Adding that most of national assets that were sold before now ended up comatose while those that survived are not better in terms of service delivery.
Instead of the sale, the ACF contended that unnecessary allowances of public officers and overhead cost forming over 40 per cent of the annual national budget should be converted to capital allocation to boost the economy.
“This is the time for national sacrifice in order to bequeath an enduring legacy to the next generation. Positive change usually comes with painful necessary sacrifice.
“ACF, however, supports some of the measures proposed by the National Economic Council but seriously objects to the selling of strategic national assets just to get out of a temporary economic recession.
“ACF calls upon our prominent businessmen and women to invest their resources in the oil and gas industry, building of airports that will compete favourably with the public ones.
“This will equally boost the economy through employment and infrastructure development.
‘’Let us put on our thinking cap and do the needful, rather than taking short term measures,“ ACF said.
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews….
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