There is no gainsaying that the currenteconomicrecession in the country has turned out to be a wakeup call for Nigeria stakeholders:businessmen, government officials, legislature to engage in deep thinkingand offer critical insights into how to return the economy to stability and sustainability. The deep reflection no doubt has resulted to two schools of thoughts which views bother on whether to sell or not to sell our National assets. The arguments are deepening the conversations,and intellectually too, and this couldhelp find the long sought solution to the present economic quagmire. But whichever way the thoughts are tilted, it is good, since the overall aimswill achieve positive and enduring results. As it were some notable Nigerians, including Billionaire AlikoDangote, Senate President,BukolaSaraki are of the candid opinion that the sale of the nation’s assets is better than borrowing to reflate the economy. They see borrowing as unwise becauseit will worsen Nigeria’s debt burden. Save for their arguments, the points made by both excellencies are excellent and well noted, even though expectedly, opposing views, like those of Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, former Benue governor, Senator George Akume and his Lagos state colleague,GbengaAshaffaand ahost of others proffer alternative ways out of current recession instead of disposing national asets. According to the second group, selling our common patrimony will result to losing a great deal of wealth and disservice to thenext generation of Nigerians whom in their opinion will not forget and forgive. Instead they call for short measures like reducing governance costs, concession of government enterprises and assets, among others. Good contributions indeed. Interestingly in all the conversation,one thing stands out,“Patriotism”. While the word has shown collaboration, utmostconcern by everyone and punctured political divide, ethnic and religious leaning, it has also rejected party leaning, whether it is APC or PDP government. And moving on without doubts, Nigerians are demonstrating unfettered nationalism towards seeking sustainable answers to the ailing economy. However, coming with so much quality recommendation as interim measures, it is expected that the recommendations to the executive arm of government that will come in form of resolutionsfrom the national assembly, like (concession of critical assets) should be implemented. As a short term lease of critical assets to willing private sector operators, the concession should be between moratoriumsof betweenten to twenty years as it can provide quick funds that can be speedily injectedinto the economy, particularly the much talked about Agriculture and solid minerals areas. This position elucidates the contribution of Senator Ashafa,who argue that if government concessions or grant licenses to interested private sector investors to run our airports, seaports, export processing zones, stadia, rail lines, and other free assets not already commercialized or privatized, so much money can be realized to return the economy to stability and remove it from a looming depression. Truly speaking thispoint is not trite as we see light and economic sense inSenator Ashaffa’s model as it is thething to do nowsince former President Olusegun Obasanjo did same when he sold GSM licenses to many major operators andservice providers, thus creating new and more jobs and also enriching government pocket at that time with huge sums of money. While we are not in doubt that this current government is inclined to doing same as it is reported thatnegotiations are ongoing to concession the narrow gauge rail lines across the country to General Electric, according to Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, it is instructive to state that beyondconcessioningthe rail lines, government must as a matter of urgency first do an audit of all national assets and give out the viable ones on concessionaire agreement while considering national interest, national security, etc. For now this is the action that cantake away the country from the woods instead of borrowing and outright sales of the nation’s unmovable wealth. Furthermore ‘Caution and Patriotism’ must be the watch and guiding word, because if we sell, like we are against further borrowing, there is the tendency that those who allegedly stole about $80billion of Nigeria’s money may buy these concerns, in that way use such economic power and wealth to fight the status quo and further monopolize the economy, which is corruption fighting back. So care must be taken by President Buhari in arriving at the most viable option which we equivocally say is concession and not outright sale to private individuals who may mortgage the country through such enormous economic powers, this is the way to go, no more, no less.
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