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Sale of national assets not a bad idea, Obasanjo says



Sale of national assets not a bad idea, Obasanjo says

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said there was nothing wrong for Nigerian government to sell national assets at a time of recession like the present one ravaging the country.

He however advised that the process must be transparent, public and that the assets must not be sold to cabals, relations and friends of those in government.

The former president made his stand on one of the dominating issues in national discourse at the moment known when he addressed the National Council of Finance and Economic Development Conference in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to spend less than the country was earning, seek for a way to earn more revenue and ensure it borrows, as a way to take the country out of the present recession.

“If you are spending more than you are earning, you will have to spend less, you earn more and you borrow. For us, we are to do the three as quickly as possible, we must borrow and we must go to the people that will give us loan with reasonable interest.

“You may do it with the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. I don’t say we must not go to them. When I was in government, I never say no to them, but don’t do their bidding. Out there, there is money but people will not part with their money unless you are doing the right thing, Obasanjo said.

Chief Obasanjo urged the government to be clear on what it plans to do, and that the process of selling the asset should be transparent, to ensure every willing Nigerian has access to the asset.

Read also: Senate rejects Saraki’s view on sale of national assets

On the plan to sell national asset which has been widely frowned at by a seemingly larger group of the country, Obasanjo argued, “I see no reason why 49 per cent of NNPC cannot be privatised. Don’t give it‎ out to cabals, friends, relations, kin and kith. Let it go public, so that even my driver can buy 10 per cent of NNPC. There should be a limit to the share any individual or corporate organisations can buy. There is nothing wrong in that. The NNPC will then be run as NLNG was run.”

“The NLNG is doing wonderfully well. NNPC was doing very well‎ until we started running it not the way it should be run. If it can be run this way in the past, who says it cannot be run that same way in future. We must prevent reoccurrence.

“Many people thought selling was a bad thing, no. You are reorganising the sector. That is all it is. You’re reorganising the sector. You talk of asset that are not doing well. No! If you have to earn money to get yourself out of the situation you are in, you can even sell good asset. You can, the only thing is how do you sell it?

By Ebere Ndukwu …



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