Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says the plan of the federal government to sell national assets will cause long-term pains.
In September, Joe Anichebe, a director at the Bureau of Public Entreprises (BPE), said the federal government may put up 10 state-owned companies for sale in the fourth quarter of 2018.
But in a statement which his campaign council issued on Wednesday, Abubakar said the sale of the assets would only provide short-term gains.
He said what the country needs is fiscal restructuring to “eliminate our addiction to oil revenues and strengthen our internal revenue generating capacity.”
The organisation said selling the assets is “like selling your family house to take a trip overseas on holiday”.
“His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, supervised the successful policy of privatisation. Privatisation works because it is a long-term strategy to engender efficiency in the economic system and expand the frontiers of private sector activity,” the statement read.
“Its primary goal is not to raise money for short term stabilisation of what is clearly a fragile fiscal system. The government’s planned sale of assets will cause long term pains and only provide short term gains.
“We knew that such a day would come, which is why His Excellency Atiku Abubakar has on various occasions made it clear that what is needed at this time is fundamentally fiscal restructuring to eliminate our addiction to oil revenues and strengthen our internal revenue generating capacity and a restructuring of the budget in favour of capital spending.
“It makes no sense to sell public assets simply to fund a ‘business-as-usual’ budget that is essentially 70% recurrent. It is irresponsible to part with valuable assets simply to consume the proceeds – like selling your family house to take a trip overseas on holiday.”
The council said the Abacha loot should have been used to fund the 2019 budget.
“For instance, last month, the PDP presidential candidate questioned the wisdom behind the Federal Government sharing $322 million Abacha loot to certain Nigerians, only to obtain a $328 million loan from China, allegedly for ICT development,” the statement read.
“Rather than share that money, the Buhari administration ought to have put that $322 million in an escrow account to be used for funding the 2019 budget.
“Also, we recall that $43 million was found in an Ikoyi apartment. While we note the failed promise of the Buhari administration to come clean on who was behind those monies, we make bold to say that those funds should equally have been placed in escrow for use in funding the 2019 budget.
“It is our hope that the Buhari government will accept this patriotic pro bono advice and retrace its step accordingly.”