By Yusuf Adua
The finance minister, Hajia Zainab Ahmed has confirmed the decision of the government to sell some of its properties in a document submitted to lawmakers to fund the 2021 budget.
Nigeria, which has a plan to engage in domestic and foreign borrowings to fund the 2021 budget, made it known that it will also sell some government-owned properties for the same purpose.
The government also said it will sell some non-oil assets to serve as an additional source of finance for the year’s budget.
In a Tuesday presentation made in Abuja by the finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, to stakeholders about the signed 2021 budget, she said President Muhammadu Buhari had on December 31, 2020, signed the N13.58 trillion budget for the 2021 fiscal year – about N505 billion higher than the budget proposed in October 2020.
The copy of the presentation which was made available to News Live Nigeria was, titled “Public Presentation of 2021 FGN Approved Budget – Breakdown and Highlights” and dated January 12.
In the approved 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).
It should be stated that many Nigerians have condemned the federal 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 which represents 3.93 percent of the GDP.
Mr. President and Ms. Zainab had earlier reveal Nigeria will borrow money from the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and countries like Brazil to fund the budget.
According to the document, another means by which the government looks to fund the budget is by selling and concessioning 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.
Though the document fails to detail the companies that have been put up for sale, it also forgot to state the expected revenue from the sales.
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.
Documents presented to the committee showed plans by the federal government to sell the Integrated Power Plants in Geregu, Omotosho, and Calabar at N434 billion in 2021.
Also in the document were plans to concession the National Arts Theatre, Tafawa Balewa Square, and all the River Basin Development Authorities at N836 million while the National Stadium in Lagos, the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, and two others were pegged for concessioning at N100 million.
The head of the committee, Theodore Orji, had said the panel was not aware of the planned transactions. He also complained that the Director-General of BPE, Alex Okoh, “refused to carry members of the panel along”.
The Finance Minister cleared the air that Mr. Okoh has appeared again before the panel to submit the necessary documents containing the list of national properties that are up for sale or concessioning as well as their prices. She also said both the committee, the BPE, and the federal government are now all on the same page.
The Clerk of the panel, Sadia Abdullahi agreed on this development rating on Wednesday that “the matter had been resolved.”
News Live Nigeria understands that besides selling off national assets, the federal government also intends to finance the year’s budget through “Borrowing from Special Accounts.”
Though no amount was stated for this purpose, it has become a widely held view that the government plans to borrow money from dormant account.
Ms. Ahmed had disclosed that the government is targeting about N850 billion from unclaimed dividends and dormant bank deposits.
The government will also finance the budget through proceeds from privatisation of some public assets which has been put at N205.1 billion.
Other means are Multilateral/Bi-lateral Project-tied Loans pegged at N709.68 billion and ‘New Borrowings’ of N4.7 trillion (N4,686,775,885,696) which includes borrowing from domestic sources of N2.34 trillion and foreign sources of N2.34 trillion)
The government also hopes to finance the budget from its share of oil revenue- N2.01 trillion, NLNG Dividend – N208.5 billion, Minerals and Mining N2.65 billion, and non-oil at N1.48 trillion.
Company Income Tax (CIT) – N681.7 billion, Valued Added Tax (VAT)-N238.4 billion, Customs – N508.2 billion, and Federation Account levies at N60.5 billion will also be in use.
The minister did reveal that about N7.97 trillion is available to fund the 2021 budget.
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