Unionist warns against sale of national assets

Mr Benson Adegbeyeni, President, Senior Staff Association, Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), has called on the Federal Government not to sell-off national assets.

Adegbeyeni told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Lagos, that disposing the country’s assets was not the solution to the current economic challenges.

He said that looting of public funds by previous administrations coupled with the activities of some saboteurs and not the crash in crude oil prices was responsible for the current recession.

He insisted that the recession would still persist if assets were sold or not unless the government addresses the causes and sustain efforts at revamping the economy.

Adegbeyeni said: “I read in the papers that the Federal Government, following calls from some quarters, is planning to sell some national assets to raise revenue as a way out of the current recession.

“The question I am asking is why? Why should the government sell refineries, NLNG shares and other national assets bequeathed to us by our forefathers to solve a problem caused by some corrupt few?

“The fact is that the recession is man-made. It was actually caused by some corrupt elements in the country especially those in the previous administration, who diverted our wealth for personal use.

“The activities of some saboteurs in the present dispensation, who are doing everything to cripple the economy, have also aggravated the situation.

“Rather than blaming the crash in oil price, the government must face the reality and address these real causes.

“Sale of national assets will not solve the problem; the government should not toe that line.’’

The NPA workers president declared that if past leaders in the country had sold national assets to solve some economic challenges, there would be no assets the present leadership is contemplating to sell.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari’s loot recovery drive, Adegbeyeni urged the government to intensify efforts in that direction, stressing that recovered funds should be utilised to get the country out of recession.

He advised the Federal Government to come up with “more robust economic diversification plans’’ to tackle the country’s dependence on the export of crude oil for revenue.

He described the N18, 000 minimum wage as “laughable’’ in the face of current economic realities and urged the government to introduce a new minimum wage to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerian workers.