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Buhari to offload refineries, Tafawa Balewa Square, Trade fair complex others to fund 2021 budget

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President Muhammadu Buhari administration is seeking the National Assembly approval for the sale of national assets largely to finance the N13.58 trillion 2021 budget, PremiumTimes reported.

At least 36 of Nigeria’s tax-payers properties were listed in the executive document titled “NCP Approved 2021 Work Plan.”

The document shows the names of the “projects” (as described by the document), the sale strategy, the duration of the process as well as the cost of the properties.

These properties cut across energy, industries, communication, and infrastructural sectors and are expected to be sold or concessioned between January 2021 and November 2022, the news platform reported.

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Some of the properties include the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), the Abuja International Conference Centre (ICC), some unnamed refineries, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Abuja Water Board, Nigerian Film Corporation, among others.

There are, however, different sale strategies for the properties. While some are ‘core investor sales’, a few others are for ‘share sales’. Some are for ‘concessioning’ and others for ‘full or partial commercialisation’.

Some properties have been enlisted to be sold to a ‘willing buyer’.

A core investor sale is the transfer of at least 51 percent ownership, accompanied by management control, in a company from the government to new private owners.

The core investor, according to the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), maybe individuals or firms, Nigerian or foreign, with the money required to buy and operate the company, and the technical and managerial capabilities needed to ensure that the company is profitable.

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A concession is a form of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) where a government-owned asset is being operated and maintained by a private investor for a period of time on terms contained in an agreement between both parties.

In the approved 2021 budget, about N496.5 billion was approved for statutory transfers, and N3.3 trillion was approved for debt services.

The recurrent expenditure was put at N5.6 trillion with capital expenditure at N4.1 trillion and fiscal deficit at N5.2 trillion (5,196,007,992,292).

Many have condemned the Nigerian government’s consistent resolve to borrow to fund budgets annually. For this year, the government is to borrow N5.6 trillion from domestic and foreign resources. The amount being the total deficit for the 2021 budget.

Both the president and Nigeria’s finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, had said Nigeria will borrow money from the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and countries like Brazil to fund the budget.

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Ahmed in January already confirmed that the government will also sell some government-owned properties for the same purpose.

According to her presentation to stakeholders about the signed 2021 budget in January, she said the administration will sell and concession government-owned properties and non-oil assets.

“Sales of government property” and “non-oil asset sales” were listed under the “additional financing” section of the document. This section shows an overview of how the deficit will be financed.

In November 2020, the Senate committee on privatisation said it was not aware of the government’s plan to sell or concession some national properties through the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE). This was during the agency’s 2021 budget defence session.

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