FG to sell National Arts Theatre, TBS, others

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The Federal Government has concluded plans to sell key national assets like the National Arts Theatre and Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos in a bid to generate sufficient revenue to finance Nigeria’s annual budgets between 2018 and 2020.

Director General, Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives joint committees on finance, appropriation, loans, debts and aids and legislative budget and research on the 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).

Akabueze explained that proceeds from sales of the key government assets, which also included National Integrated Power Plant (NIPP) plants, National Parks, are to be deployed as financing items for the 2018 budget.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, in his budget presentation to the National Assembly, disclosed that the Federal Government is targeting N306 billion from proceeds of privatisation of some non-oil assets by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to finance the budget deficit.

“We plan to finance the deficit partly by new borrowings estimated at N1.699 trillion. Fifty per cent of this borrowing will be sourced externally, whilst the balance will be sourced domestically.

The balance of the deficit of N306 billion is to be financed from proceeds of privatisation of some nonoil assets by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE),” the president told the lawmakers. Akabueze disclosed that the power generation plants constructed by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) under the NIPP on behalf of the government would be sold.

Some of the NIPP expected to be sold include Alaoji Power Station in Abia State, a 1074 Mega Watts (MW) capacity plant; the 561MW capacity Calabar Power Station; the Egbema Power Station, a 338MW simple cycle gas turbine plant and Geregu II Power Station in Kogi State with 434 MW capacity.

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Others include the 450MW Ihovbor Power Station in Benin City; Olorunsogo Power Station, a 336MW plant located at Olorunsogo; Olorunsogo II Power Station with combined cycle gas turbine of 675 MW capacity; the Omoku II Power Station in Omoku with 225 MW capacity. Also to be sold are Omotosho II Power Station with 450 MW capacity and Sapele Power Station with 450 MW capacity.

Other items to be sold are non-core assets from the mines and steel sector, houses, and estates. He said proceeds from privatisation of key government assets were factored in the 2018 budget, to finance especially the budget deficit of N2.005 trillion, much of which will be financed through domestic and foreign.

According to the Director General, the country was generating too little revenue; hence it was expedient to borrow. He added that the reverse would be the case if actually there were more revenue collectibles. “We are generating too little revenue, hence we are borrowing.

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