FG will not sell off all national assets –Udoma

The Minister  of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma says the fiscal stimulus strategy designed is not to sell off all national assets.

Udoma, gave the explanation in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, James Akpandem on Saturday in Abuja.

Udoma said the primary objective of 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.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Economic Management Team had been working on a plan to generate immediate large injection of funds into the economy.

The team had plans 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, 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.

He said the government appreciated that the down-turn 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 potentials 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.

The minister, however, said getting back the economy on the path of sustainable growth would require the contribution of every sector in their respective core mandate areas.

He further said collaboration with groups such as the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) provided a veritable avenue for forging consensus on issues of national development.

The minister said this year’s Nigeria Economic Summit to hold in Lagos slated for between Oct.10 and Oct.12 would serve as veritable platform to chart other ways for the economy to recover.

The minister stressed the need to encourage more production and consumption of made in Nigeria goods and services.