DUE to the economic situation in the country, some ‘experts’ have suggested to the Federal Government to sell some national assets, including the refineries and the Nigerian Liquidfied Natural Gas (NLNG) so that the government can raise about $15billion to survive on.
Let me state clearly that there is nothing wrong in selling national assets; in fact, I believe government has no business in running companies, but the problem we are having in Nigeria is that this will present those who have enriched themselves illegally the opportunity to buy these national assets.
The sale of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) is a great example of what I am talking about. If we are to know the ownership structure of all the companies that bought the former PHCN, then we will discover that most of them are people who had stolen from the state.
It is unfortunate that corporate watchdogs are not very effective in the country like in other developed countries of the world.
I believe we are not working towards becoming like Russia, where politically-connected businessmen bought state firms for a fraction of their current value, thereby catapulting them into instant billionaires.
If there is any need to sell these assets, then those who are behind each bid should be made public. We don’t want a situation whereby some people, due to their connection to the corridors of power, will buy assets left for us by our founding fathers.
- Nelson Ekwale,