Arewa, Labour fault call for sale of assets

Refinery
Say it will worsen situation

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to jettison calls by some Nigerians that government should sell national assets in tackling the recession.

They said Nigeria would be worse off if the call was heeded.

The ACF and Labour believe that the nation can be rescued from the present economic woes if government adopts effective strategies to bail out the economy.

The ACF in a statement yesterday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim, said that “growing calls by some prominent politicians and business tycoons on the Federal Government to consider the selling of strategic viable national assets as an option to take the economy out of recession at this material time is inappropriate.”

He said: “ACF therefore considers it unwise for the Federal Government to contemplate selling our major national assets while we can use them as security against needed funds to boost the economy. After all, the Federal Government’s diversification policy in agriculture and solid mineral resources is aimed at boosting the economy to arrest the recession.

“The suggestion offered by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) that Nigeria’s assets like the NLNG and other strategic national resources should not be sold to meet short-term financial obligation should be taken seriously.”

In the same vein, a National Executive Council (NEC) member of the NLC, Issa Aremu, cautioned Buhari against what he called “feverish prescriptions of few economic hit-men who deliberately undermine national development through recommendations that foster national assets stripping rather than sovereign wealth generation.”

Aremu, also the Secretary-General of the Textile Workers Union, in a statement issued in Kaduna yesterday, said: “Nigeria is not short of resources, but on the contrary, lacks genuine resourceful leaders at all levels committed to nation-building.

“At $50 per barrel of crude oil, Nigeria is still a rich country but sadly made impoverished by miserable leaders whose business as usual governance life-styles include scandalous budget padding, illegal double prohibitive pension compensation for increasing army of two-term governors, sheer theft of public funds officially put at trillions of naira and lack of authentic vision of building the wealth of the nation.”

He, however, commended the “economic patriotism” of the RMAFC, NLC and Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) for rising in defence of retention of critical national assets such as NLNG, which according to NEITI, has over eight-year period paid $12.9 billion to NNPC unremitted to the Federation Account.



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