According to reports, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo-Udoma, has assured that the Federal Government has no plans to sell off all national assets to fund the fiscal stimulus strategy.
Udoma gave the clarification in a statement by his Media Adviser, James Akpandem, yesterday, in Abuja.
He said that the primary objective of the government’s fiscal stimulus plan was not to sell off all major critical national assets but to source for immediate funds to get the economy out of recession.
He said the intention of government was just to get enough money to fund the 2016 budget and to put the economy back on the path of recovery.
A report on Freedomonline, a newsblog, stated that the Economic Management Team had been working on a plan to generate and inject large amount of funds, estimated at between 10 billion dollars and 15 billion dollars into the economy.
“This unfortunate scenario has prompted the team to urgently work out a fiscal stimulus plan to generate immediate large injection of funds into the economy,” he said.
He said the plans were to generate funds through asset sales, advance payment for license rounds, infrastructure concessioning and use of recovered funds to reduce the funding gap.
The other option, according to the minister, would have been to source for additional loans, beyond the level of borrowing, already projected for in the 2016 budget.
“This would not be a wise option as it would raise the level of debt service to an unsustainable level,” Udoma said
He also said the government was exploring several options in the asset sales proposal including repurchase options, which would make provision for buy-back of those assets when the situation improved.
The minister said the country’s economy might not have gone into recession but for the drastic fall in oil production levels and disruptions caused by oil pipeline vandalism.
Udoma said the government appreciated that the downturn in the economy had brought hardship to the people, adding that government was committed to redressing the situation.
“Our goal is to unlock the economic potential of the non-oil and high-employment sectors. This is to achieve a sustainable inclusive growth that will ensure that the majority of Nigerians become more productive, thereby reducing poverty.
“We are deliberately working towards diversifying the economy by ensuring that the non-oil sector drives the economy, because this is the sector that contributes most to GDP,” Udoma said.