Recession: RMAFC warns against sale of national assets •Advocates IMF loan instead

Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has disagreed with views that the Federal Government should dispose of vital national assets to generate revenues needed to move the country out of recession.

Rather, the commission advocated that government should approach International Monetary Fund (IMF) for low interest yielding loans and amortise it with the national assets.

A Cabinet retreat last week resolved to dispose of some national assets in order to generate between $10 and $15 billion principally in foreign currency for injection into the economy.

Similarly, billionaire businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote also advised during an interview on CNBC that government should privatise Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited as a means of generating much needed funds to reflate the economy.

However, in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, Acting Chairman of RMAFC,  Shettima Umar Abba Gana, argued that it would be unwise for the Federal Government to dispose of its crown jewels that generate revenue and keep the Federation Account healthy over the long term.

Citing the NEITI 2013 audit and financial report of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, RMAFC disclosed that the sum of $12.9 billion was received by NNPC from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Company over an eight-year period which the corporation did not remit to the federation account.

The audit according to the Commission also revealed that Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Company paid the sum of $1.289 billion as dividends for 2013.

“It is the considered view of the Commission that Nigeria’s Assets like NLNG and other strategic national resources should not be sold to meet short-term financial obligation.”

It would be recalled that Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the CBN indicated in a media report that the sum of $10bn would be realised from the sale of these assets.

The Commission is of the strong opinion that the same amount could be borrowed from the IMF and the revenue from these assets could be used to amortise the loans over an agreed period.

It should be noted that after the amortization of the loans, those Assets would still be owned by the Federation in addition to their regular dividends and Revenue.

The Commission advised that instead of selling off such vital assets which generate funds for the Federation, wealthy Nigerians should be encouraged to set up their own LNG projects, since Nigeria which ranks seventh in the world and first in Africa with natural gas reserves base totalling 188 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) as at May 1, 2015.

In addition, Nigeria’s natural gas is regarded as one of the best in the world as it has low hydrogen sulphide (H2S) or carbon dioxide (CO2) impurity levels.