The controversial nature of this issue cannot be overemphasized as our political lexicology has been saturated with the cliché of for or against the sale of national assets.
Political discussions in the country in recent times has been technically awashed with unending, unregulated and unmoderated debate as regards the controversial suggestion by Alh Aliko Dangote that Nigeria should consider selling off some of her National assets to reflate the economy.
As a result of this, the Nigerian socioeconomic political space has been segmented into two groups of those for and those against. Those against the sale of national assets consider the groups clamouring for it as economic saboteurs, predators and vampires who are driven by selfish interest and capitalistic ends at the expense of national interest and patriotism. On the other hand, the advocate of this suggestion consider those against as unrealistic, sentimental group of persons who are incapable of seeing issues critically and objectively.
But the question is, has it gotten so bad that we have no choice than to consider the sale of national assets to reflate the economy? what really are our options? are their no other choices? which of the assets? in the real sense of it, is their anything like non performing assets?.
Ymonitor view this through the lens of accountability and transparency which has always been a problem in Nigeria and has warrant what is called a suspicious relationship between the government and the governed.
Privatization, commercialization, and sale of national assets all belong to the same nomenclature, non of them has ever benefitted Nigeria. There is no government property so far that has been sold, or privatized that can be said to be performing well. The list is long, Nigeria Telecommunication company, Nigeria Airways, PHCN, NRC, and so on, a lot of them cease to exist immediately they are sold. The major reason for this is because they are sold to cronies and friends of government who have no capitalist or entrepreneurial intention but rather to run the organization aground and sell of the asset.
The sale or privatization of such venture is never transparent and in most cases, the benefactors buy them lesser than their actual price. This is why there seem to be outright opposition to the sale by members of the civil societies, labour unions and concerned citizens.
There is no doubting the fact that selling off the national asset could be considered in times like this given the biting economic situation in the face of recession. But that is not our only option and should not even be the first, we don’t have to sell our assets to get out of recession, it is a crude and quick fix approach to the problem, it does not task our ingenuity or creativity, it is also not the kind of precedence we want to set for the upcoming generation.
Times like this should bring out the best in us, hence it is in our own interest to come out with innovative policies and programs to scale through this period.
I am yet to see any clear program by the government to get the country out of this cesspool of recession, in times like this, nations come out with emergency program that is all encompassing to address the situation and in such program, every section and category of the population sacrifices.
Why is no one considering the reduction of salaries and wages of our law makers and political office holders, why are we not considering part time legislators for the time being, so that they would stop living off the population, why don’t we consider down sizing government to reduce the side of recurrent expenditure to free up funds to reflate the economy, why must we continue to give bail out funds to governors, they can as well consider using their security votes to cater for the situations in their state or be creative and innovative such that they can pull their state out of the present economic quagmire.
There are better ways to get out of recession than to sell our national assets.
Those who advocate the sale of non performing or under utilized assets should understand that there is no asset or government own venture that has been sold in this country at the exact market price, in other words they are sold less than their price and the money unaccounted for and every of such asset that is under utilized or does not perform is symptomatic of government incapacity, and poor management.
The core of this argument is that selling off government venture or national assets or privatization has never worked for us and would never if we continue in the present context, hence the state should explore other creative, and innovative options, there is no problem if the president could declare a state of economic emergency which would come with emergency power to address the present situation.
Hence, before the sale of the national assets, other numerous options should be considered, and government should seek economic advice outside its corridor, the state should engage experts and explore various policies that are original and peculiar to our context, after which we are sure that the state would eventually have no choice than to jettison the idea of selling its national assets.