As Nigeria seeks for solution to the disturbing economic recession, the federal government is canvassing the sale of national assets as possible way to raise funds and reflate the economy.
OluwatoyinAmao samples the opinion of Nigerians on whether this is a wise option.
Selling the national assets is not the way out of recession. The same set of persons who says well the assets is the way out will be the ones to buy it and the returns from these assets are not likely to be properly accounted for. Some assets were sold in the past, what we did with the money? The nation is in recession and prices of property have fallen. How much are we going to make from such sales that will revive the economy?
In tackling recession, it is important to ensure policy consistency in the system.
So, the monetary authority must take cognizance of rising rate of inflation, which is about 16.5percent. It is only when we have policy consistency that we can restore the confidence of investors in our economy. Monetary policy instruments can be used as short term measures to boost economic growth. However, there must be effective co-ordination of monetary and fiscal policies to ensure stability in the system. This is paramount because monetary policies alone cannot guarantee sustainable growth. For example, the economy is experiencing high inflation and low productivity, so the commercial banks should be willing to lend to manufacturers and entrepreneurs to boost economic activities across the country. Lending to entrepreneurs will add value to the economy and create jobs for the citizens, rather than giving out money for importation of goods that can be manufactured locally.
There must be clear monetary policies in place to crash high interest from banks and to ensure easy access to credit facility. Right now, many banks are not giving loans to entrepreneurs as well as operators of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The few banks willing to lend to entrepreneurs give very stringent conditions for obtaining loans, which is not helping the economy. So, the right thing is for banks to lend to entrepreneurs and manufacturers.
selling national assets just to get out of recession would put the country in mess and will lead to loss of jobs, depending on the assets though. This is because selling these things out to private companies or individuals will lead to situations whereby individual owners of these properties will come up with laws or policies which may not create good or conducive working atmosphere to those working before the sale of these properties.
If thegovernment sell these assets, the effect will tell more on the citizens. The only way government will make more money selling these assets to private owners is through taxation and taxing these private individuals so high after sale of these properties and will still have negative effect on the citizens because they will earn less. You don’t expect a company that pays so much tax to pay workers what they really deserve.
Well I think the major factors that have led to the current recession is basically due to the drastic fall in our GDP due to low dollar/naira ratio. This has led to inflation in the price of goods and the high unemployment rate that has been there all along. Looking at national assets like NNPC and Ajaokuta steel that isn’t functioning close to 30% of the design capacity; if sold to private investors and they can get them to work to full capacity then we could arrest unemployment to some extent. But the question is will it be enough?
Our major asset is the oil sector and it’s presently not environmentally viable for investors. So I think we need to look at other options like exploration of other natural resources. Basically we need to get investors’ money into our economy because the government is not making enough profit with their current financial activities. Selling the assets alone will not give a lasting solution.
I am against the sale of National assets because of our antecedents with regards to assets sale. The Transcorp Hilton, NITEL, PHCN are examples of assets that the previous governments sold without a headway till date. In a country where nepotism thrives, one can only imagine that our assets will end up in the hands of politicians and their cronies. Eventually, the purpose of the assets sale would be defeated and Nigerians plunged into further penury.
Talking about the sale of national assets, I will unapologetically advice the federal government to think deep before taking an action that will put the country into final state of slumber. These assets we talk about are very important to us as a country and we must cherish them. We need to look inwards on some other measures to boost the economy. Come to think of it, even if we are to put them up for sale, who are the people that will end up buying them? The ones we had sold in the past to rescue a hard situation, what happened to them? It is then obvious that the sale will end up benefiting a very few people while young entrepreneurs continue to bite their fingers.
In revamping our economy, we should diversify from non-oil export sector and empower people to do more in sectors like agriculture, industrial production and the likes. At this point, we shouldn’t be thinking of selling rather we should be thinking of putting a structure in place that would allow private investors to come and manage some of our dormant assets like the refineries and some other ones and we should also learn to promote manufacturing so as to cut the unreasonable importation of goods into the country when we can patronize locally made goods.
Victoria Island, Lagos
I would like to start with a proverb that says “the head is not the solution for headache.” Selling off national assets is not the solution to Nigeria’s recession. What even guarantees us that selling off the assets would eventually curb the problem. There should be other ways to go about it, not this. Let’s not forget that Greece went through something like this a few years ago, but didn’t take drastic measures like this. What is happening now is a phase; it will pass. Nigeria is going through this now because of maladministration and corruption from our past leader(s). Let’s say for example the assets are sold and after a while the recession goes away. What are we going to fall back on? And if we decide to buy them back, I am sure it will probably be triple the original price. It is a very bad idea to think of and also executing it.
Sanyo Ota, Ogun State
I am not in support of selling National assets. I will advise the government to look forward elsewhere for the solution of economic downturn/recession. Among other things, all unnecessary expenses should be reduced because the running of this country is much higher than even the United States of America. Our house of Senate and representative should be on part-time basis in order to reduce their emolument. Government personnel going on course or important assignment abroad should be minimised in order to reduce travelling allowance. Reduction of presidential jet should be considered and excesses of governors curbed. Those in higher authority accumulating wealth for children should know that according to a saying “tomorrow might not be the same as today.” Those that are not in money today might be billionaires tomorrow. Let us remember our children’s children and not mortgage their future.
Yes, because I believe that if the government is unable to cater for the needs of Nigerians and still continue to pump money into some sectors, the recession would persist and it would result to non-payment of salaries which would make people suffer more. But if the government releases some of these assets, it would reduce its stress of spending and this would also induce breakthrough and escape from the economic recession. Also, if some of these assets are sold, it would help to improve their services just like the improvement in the power sector we are all enjoying.
It is never the way out and can never be the way out. What benefit did the sold ones like NITEL, PHCN and others bring to the masses? The ones they sold are not working till date; debts and wages of retrenched workers are yet to be paid. In my own short view, I strongly believe it’s not the way out. Selling it will make things get worse; imagine if the health sector is privatized. Presently it is in the hands of the federal government and the bills are not that affordable, how much more when it is privatized.
In my humble opinion, I think privatization of National assets is not the best way to tackle the recession. Doing that will only hamper the national progress and efforts of this present administration which includes infrastructural expansion and the rest will further be frustrated. The fact of this need not much stress to fetch. You will recall in some years back, when the then administration were facing with slide in electricity; sale of NEPA emerged as the suitable alternative and was achieved and it became PHCN, but ironically the case is rather far from better to worse.
First, the slide in electricity watts incessantly persists in the Nation whilst the increase in the electricity tariffs became unaffordable for the average Nigerian. And what effort has the federal government made to curtail the issue? The answers remain hanging in balance!
Secondly, what assurance and a strategic plan did the government wish to put in place so that the output of such move will be of paramount benefit to rebuild a more prospective and efficient economy for the citizenry. Who are the people to purchase the proposed property?
In a Nation where an ordinary ‘top ranking’ civil servant embezzled over $90billion and nothing happened to him, the integrity of those to purchase those property comes question. Obviously no other people would be able to afford to ‘them’ other than our politicians. I feel such a proposal is nothing but a mere apt way for the political masters to perpetuate their heinous and corrupt practices. It will rather make the situation worse than solve the problem at hand.
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