The Federal Government had expressed its readiness to sell its share holdings in the NLNG as well as the sovereign assets in the oil and aviation sectors to stem the current economic recession.
PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana, who reacted to the planned sale on behalf of the union, described the moves as self-destructive.
He insisted that the plan meant to solve short-term financial obligations was targeted at handing over peoples’ collective common wealth to a few individuals.
According to him, instead of selling the assets, government should look for other ways of increasing the revenue base of the country, while plugging loopholes and leakages in government’s finances.
He advised governments at all levels to pump out money through execution of capital projects and payment of workers’ salaries to revive the economy.
Ojugbana said any attempt to sell the national assets, particularly those of the oil and gas sector, would be resisted by Nigerians.
He said: “We will not watch our national assets sold, especially those in the oil and gas industry such as NLNG that has become a huge revenue earner for Nigeria; refineries and shares in the upstream oil and gas JV operations.
“Any attempt to sell these national assets will be met with stiff resistance from the association, as PENGASSAN will galvanise every support including that of our sister union and labour centres to shut down this country by ensuring that every activity in the oil and gas sector is brought to a complete halt.
“Some opportunists in the clothes of businessmen and short sighted politicians had earlier advocated for the sales of the public assets such as the Nigerian LNG, four state-owned refineries, Nigeria’s stakes in Africa Finance Corporation, AFC, the nation’s airports and reduction of government’s shares in upstream oil joint venture operations and this was approved by the National Economic Council, NEC.”
He noted that doing this would further put the nation under the grips of moneybags and cabals who would not brood at anything to bring the economy aground to satisfy their personal aggrandizement.
Ojugbana also alleged that the plan was ill-timed and unwarranted, explaining that no nation thrives by offering out its priced assets for immediate gains.
Meanwhile, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, an NGO, Ms Iayat Hassan, has kicked against the proposed sale of national assets.
Hassan, in an interview in Abuja yesterday said the plan was not a welcome idea.
“I am against the country selling off its assets in the name of solving the country’s economy recess.
“We are in no way bankrupt to the extent of selling off the country’s assets.
“So, the thought of revenue to be generated from the sale of the national assets, to help sustain the country do not in any way come in.
“If these assets are sold, who will it benefit,” she asked.
Hassan recalled that similar exercise in the past did not benefit the masses.
“I am strongly in support of the government borrowing and injecting same into the economy,” she said.
Hassan also called on the government to prioritise the development of the small and medium scale industries to enable them contribute to the economy.
She also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to reshuffle his cabinet with a view to dropping ministers that were not performing to the expectation of the people.
Hassan, however, commended the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun for contributing meaningfully to reducing the cost of governance in the country.
“Efficiency unit introduced by her is working and close watchers of the government can attest to that; same can be said of the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma,” she added.
However, Hassan urged the ministers to work more with technocrats to bridge any gap existing at the moment.
Source – National Mirror