Shehu Sani, a former federal lawmaker, has condemned plans by the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to sell off five power plants in the country in the name of funding 2023 budget.
Sani’s observation was on the backdrop of the comments traced to Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Alex Okoh, in an interview on Tuesday.
Okoh said Federal Government and the 36 state governors had agreed to sell five power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects and use the proceeds to fund the 2023 budget.
He noted that the agreement was coming after two years of disputes and legal tussles regarding the sale of the NIPP plants managed by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPH).
“The expectation (of BPE) in the fiscal plan for 2023 is N260bn, and the critical assets we are looking at are the power assets. Five of the NIPP plants; incidentally, we are reaching some understanding with the state governors for selling those five power plants”, Okoh maintained.
“But the proceeds itself would come in the first quarter of next year. So we actually project that in the first quarter of next year we will be able to exceed the expectation of the budget for N260bn.
“Let me also add that from the projected sum from the sale of the assets, the portion that actually becomes available to the Federal Government for the funding of the federal budget is 47 per cent, 53 per cent goes to the states”, he added.
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Tweeting in reaction to the development on Wednesday, Sani expressed concerns over the humongous debts of up N44 trillion piled up in no fewer than six months to the end of Buhari-led administration.
The former lawmaker accused government officials of ploy to sell off the national assets to enrich themselves.
The tweets read: “When they want to sell public assets to themselves, they will hide themselves and send their business friends to ‘bid’. After buying the assets, they will appoint their children, Brothers or inlaws to chair the Board. After 5 years or more, the identity of the real buyer will be known.
“After piling up N44 trillion debt; With less than six months to go, the Buhari-led FG wants to sell our five power plants to raise N260 billion in the name of funding the 2023 budget.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) had in September rejected the plan by the Federal Government to privatize the power plants in the country
The former NGF Chairman, Former Governor Kayode Fayemi, said all the stakeholders were not carried along in the matter.
“We examined the issues relating to the proposed privatisation of the power project and we took a decision that at this point in time, the NGF is opposed to the sale of any of the plants until appropriate steps have been taken that would take into consideration the interest of states that are also equity holders in those plants”, Fayemi said.
“We’ll continue to do whatever we can to ensure the resources of Nigeria stay with the Nigerian people and are not filtered away in a manner we can’t explain,” he added.
By Ambali Abdulkabeer