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Atiku faults planned sale of assets to fund 2019 budget


[FILE PHOTO] Atiku Abubakar<br />

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has condemned plans by the Federal Government to sell some national assets to fund the 2019 budget.

His media office in a statement yesterday said the move “by the Buhari government has the effect of ridiculing their principal.”

Atiku wondered why President Muhammadu Buhari, who had accused the past PDP governments of not building infrastructure, could turn round to contemplate selling the assets built by same administrations.

The statement reads in part: “It will be recalled that on Monday, October 29, 2018, President Buhari accused past leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party of not building public infrastructure while delivering the 75th anniversary business lecture of the Island Club, Lagos.

“However, some of the assets listed for sale in the policy document of the Buhari government were built or established under the PDP administrations that governed Nigeria between 1999 and 2007. Some of them were the brain child of the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar.”

The aspirant further made it clear that the decision would cause long-term pains and provide only short-lived gains.

“It makes no sense to sell public assets simply to fund a ‘business-as-usual’ budget that is essentially 70 per cent recurrent. It is irresponsible to part with valuable assets simply to consume the proceeds (like selling your family house to take a trip overseas on holiday),” he added.

He queried the wisdom behind the sharing of $322 million Abacha loot to certain Nigerians and the subsequent obtaining of a $328 million loan from China for ICT development.

The former vice president argued that “rather than share that money, the Buhari administration ought to have put the $322 million in an escrow account for the funding of the 2019 budget.”

In a related development, the PDP has accused Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of allegedly distorting figures regarding the nation’s debt profile.

During a press conference yesterday in Abuja, the party’s national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, claimed that the vice president “deliberately attempted to falsify financial templates to argue that this government has no blame in the accumulation of debts under its watch.”

The party argued that “it is an incontrovertible fact that the Buhari administration has accumulated more debts that any other administration in the history of our nation.”

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