Obviously responding to the barrage of criticisms against government’s intention to sell some of it’s assets to fund the 2021 budget, Honourable Wole Oke has defended the federal government plan, saying it is not a new development.
“The issue of the sale of assets is not new. Even in the previous budgets, there have always been other sources of revenue and the sales of assets is one of such,” the member representing Oriade/Obokun in Osun State explained on Monday.
He argued that some of the national assets that are being planned for sale to fund the budget are already liabilities, noting that it is better for these assets to be run by private individuals instead of the government.
“But the critical issue we need to look at, is ‘What assets are we selling?’ Some assets are already liabilities, so what are we keeping them for? That is my humble opinion,” the lawmaker added.
“You have to tell us which assets we are looking at. It is a common saying, which I also believe in, that the government is a bad manager.”
While buttressing his point, he said a look at the various sectors of the Nigerian economy indicates that government cannot run businesses effectively.
“Which business has the government run and run it very well?” he asked, stating that national assets that are idle need to be deployed productively by the Federal Government.
He said that apart from the government being a bad business manager, Section 16 of the Nigerian constitution backs the Federal Government to deploy national assets when they are not performing well.
President Muhammadu Buhari late last year signed the 2021 budget of N13.5trn into law after the National Assembly had passed the bill.
The 2021 Budget deficit (inclusive of Government-Owned Enterprises and project-tied loans), is projected at N5.20 trillion. This represents 3.64 percent of estimated GDP, slightly above the 3 percent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007
The federal government has therefore decided to sell off some national assets to fund the budget deficit.
“The deficit will be financed mainly by new borrowings totalling N4.28 trillion, N205.15 billion from Privatization Proceeds and N709.69 billion in drawdowns on multilateral and bilateral loans secured for specific projects and programmes,” Buhari had said during the presentation of the 2021 budget proposal to a joint session of the National Assembly in October.