How Nigerian government plans to sell national asset – Official

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun
Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun

The Nigerian government plans to sell only some percentage of its shareholding in selected asset, and will not sell entire national property, a top presidency source has told PREMIUM TIMES.

The government also intends to retains the right to buy back the shares in future, the source said.

The source asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The comments came as more Nigerians kick against the government’s plan to sell asset as a way of lifting the economy out of recession.

Aliko Dangote, and Senate President, Bukola Saraki, were amongst the first to call for the sale of national asset in the face of economic crisis. Mr. Dangote called for the sale of NLNG plant.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) described those calling for the sale as “economic vampires government must beware of”.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) said the proposal was “a self-destructive move”.

Prominent Nigerians, including former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chukwuma Soludo, have also voiced criticisms against the proposal.

Mr. Soludo said the proposal was largely self-serving and convenient, and would only be a win-win for both government and its private sector collaborators, with Nigerians and the economy as the losers.

But our source said the government never considered any plan to entirely sell off asset.

He the draft sales agreement include a repurchase clause.

On the Nigeria LNG, the official said no decision had been taken yet, but that the government was considering selling off only 5 per cent of its equity holding in the company. Such a transaction will leave Nigeria with 44 per cent holding.

Nigeria currently holds 49 per cent majority equity holding in the plant, in partnership with Shell BV (25.6 per cent), Total LNG Nigeria Ltd (15 per cent) and Eni (10.4 per cent).

“The federal government does not own the entire gas company, and will certainly not sell-off its entire shares. Government is open to selling 5 per cent, or thereabout of its 49 per cent shareholding. The decision is yet to be taken at all,” the official said.

“Although no list has been drawn-up for the proposed asset to be sold, there is a clear decision not to sell any of the country’s critical asset. Certainly, there is no plan to sell-off outright any asset whatsoever.

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“Some of the intended sales could be in form of time-bound leases, advance renewal payments on leasing licenses and concession, which would attract buoyant signature fees,” the official said.


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