Recession: Ekweremadu, Akume, kick against assets sale

Chambers of the Nigerian Senate used to illustrate the story.
Chambers of the Nigerian Senate used to illustrate the story.

Some senators on Wednesday kicked against the call by some Nigerians for the sale of the nation’s assets as a means of surviving the current economic recession.

The senators, who spoke on the floor of the senate during a debate on the state of the economy, also called for constitutional amendment to stop sharing of all revenue accruable to the federation account.

Business mogul, Aliko Dangote, had called for the sale of the assets.

Senate President Bukola Saraki also made the call in his welcome address at the resumption of legislative activities by the Senate on Tuesday.

However, the deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, and George Akume, cautioned against the sale of the assets during the debate.

According to them, no country resorts to selling its assets as a way out of economic recession.

Mr. Ekwerenmadu said: “UAE does not even allow you close to oil wells let alone selling them.

“For a country like Saudi Arabia, its budget each year is run by investments from oil revenue.

“Other countries are investing; I am sure we will not be fair to the next generation if we sell off our assets.

“If we must sell, we have to sell the non-performing assets so that people can turn them around and create employment.”

He said the recession had buttressed the importance of savings, and called for amendment of the revenue sharing formula between the federal and state governments to encourage savings.

“We need to amend Section 162 especially from 3,4,5,6 where each money in the federation account is made to be shared,” he said.

Commenting, Mr. Akume advised Nigerians to refrain from calling for assets sale.

He said that the country should focus on recovering stolen funds.

“If we want to sell our oil assets at this time when the price of oil crashed, how much are we going to realise?

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“We are making a mistake here; what we are doing is to ensure that those who are within the bracket of the stolen dollars will still come to buy,’’ he said.

Mr. Akume said the country should rather focus on industrialisation through agriculture.

The senator also called for the review of the revenue sharing formula to encourage savings, saying states should not insist on sharing revenue.

Mr. Shehu Sani (APC Kaduna Central) also urged the review of the revenue sharing formula.

He said that sharing all revenues contributed to Nigeria’s economic crisis.

“The situation whereby states come to Abuja every month to collect cheques and then go back to execute capital and recurrent expenditure has made impossible any initiative to boost our economy,” he said.

Mr. Sani called on state governments to look into ways to improve their internally generated revenue rather than relying on the federal allocation.

(NAN)



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