Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed
To fund the 2023 budget deficit of N10.7tn, the Buhari-led federal government has reportedly started to compile the list of assets that will be either sold or ‘concessioned’.
Punch reports that sources at the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning claim that the government was considering selling or concessioning the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos as well as all the National Integrated Power Projects in Olorunsogo, Calabar II, Benin (located at Ihorbor), Omotosho II and Geregu II plants.
The sources also said that the Federal government is also planning to sell or concession all the hydropower plants across the country, including Oyan, Lower Usuma, Katsina-Ala and Giri plants.
The Federal government is also reported to be planning to convert more than 25 of such projects into active assets that will be generating money in some ways to the Nigerian government. Some of them will be offered to investors for equity while others will be totally sold to reduce waste.
The Federal government is also said to be eyeing revenue from Calabar and Kano free zones as well as Abuja Water Board, Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria, National Film Corporation, National Theatre and Lagos International Trade Fair.
The government is also planning to relinquish the ownership of some of the basin authorities and hand them over to the private sector to manage.
However, sources said they could either be sold or concessioned depending on the preference of the core investors.
Some of the government ministries such as the postal service will be concessioned or entirely sold to the private sector to enable them to compete effectively with other privately- managed logistics firms. It was also gathered that the Federal Government was seeking ways of enhancing the value of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation by listing it in the stock market to raise capital as was done the case with Saudi Aramco. Saudi’s state-owned oil company went out to raise $25.6bn from an IPO in 2019, surpassing Alibaba’s $25bn valuation five years earlier.
Government sources also say that the Federal Government will extend its tentacles to hotels and landed properties, especially those that could be described as dead capital, to raise money. It is also reported that the Federal government is also keen to stop payment of salaries in those government-owned assets to cut wastes and support the economy.
At a ministerial briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, had said that the Federal Government would offer some of its assets for sale through equity investments. She said the government would toll some of the federal roads to raise revenue.
She noted that even the Ministry of Finance would be generating for the government in the future.
“We have started the process of re- engineering the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, which is an arm of government that has the responsibility of managing government investments.
It has been in existence since many years ago, with the same laws and has gradually become quite inefficient to be honest. So, we have gotten the approval of Mr. President to rejuvenate MOFI. We have done a lot of studies. We’re now at the stage where, in the next month, or six weeks we’ll be able to launch the new MOFI.
We are going to open these assets for investments. So, we are issuing different kinds of equity instruments for investment in these assets.”she said