The National Economic Council ( NEC) yesterday said it is considering the sale of some national assets to revive the country’s ailing economy. Similarly, the council passed a vote of confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari’s Economic Management Team and specifically commended the Minister of Budget & Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma and Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun.
These were some of the decisions reached at the end of the NEC, meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
LEADERSHIP recalls that the Senate had recommended to the Federal government to sell some national assets to raise funds as one of the ways to bring the country’s economy out of the woods. Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote had also advised government to sell some of its oil assets to raise funds.
Also, some Senators, led by the deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, on
Wednesday, called on President Buhari to re-jig his cabinet by putting square pegs in square holes especially in the area of economic management, and particularly identified the duo of Udoma and Adeosun, as knowledgeable people but unfit for their current positions, given their professional backgrounds, saying that they are better suited for other ministries.
Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, who addressed State House correspondents in company with his Oyo State counterpart, Abiola Ajimobi and deputy governor of Ogun State, Yetunde Ononuga, expressed support for the plans and proposals of the federal government to steer the country out of recession.
Governor Bagudu admitted that the country’s economy is currently in recession as a result of dependence on a single commodity (Crude Oil), which price the country has no control over.
He pointed out that oil price collapsed to less than $30 per barrel in Q1 2016 and market expectations are that it will stay lower for longer.
He, however, stated that the economic crisis is an opportunity to restructure and reset the economy According to him, the President’s Economic Management Team (EMT) is working on plans to generate and inject larger amount of funds into the economy through asset sales, advance payment of license renewals, infrastructure concessioning and use of recovered funds among others, to reduce funding gaps.
Others are; implementation of fiscal stimulus/budget priorities, fast-track procedures through legislation and implementation of Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) of the budget and meaningful diversification of the economy and cut down importation.
Governor Bagudu explained that council members in response commended the Economic Management Team and generally welcomed the presentation and expressed support for the plan to steer the nation out of recession.
“Under AOB, Council members expressed confidence in and unanimously commended the EMT and both the budget and national planning and finance ministers for the presentations to the Council, praising their efforts, competence and capabilities,” he added.
On his part, Governor Ajimobi said the Presidential Technical Committee on Land use Reform (PTCLR ) presented to Council draft regulations on the Land Use Act 2013, which seeks to make provisions to streamline mortgage transactions and clearly delineate the rights, duties and obligations of a mortgage.
According to him, other aspects of the draft are; conditions for disposal of proceeds of sale and subsequent mortgages and implied terms of a mortgage, rights of redemption and remedies and issues on mortgage by companies and power of assignment by mortgage and right of transfer and application of insurance money by the receiver.
He pointed out that the presentation on public private partnership (PPP) targets N1 billion fund to operate PPP (N500 billion initial) to create a blended pool of long term funds to intervene in housing development finance and mortgage provision.
He said, “the funds aim to deliver family housing priced from as low as N2.5 million up to N18 million delivered in a ready to occupy condition with essential services (water and power connected).
“The delivery target is 400,000 to 500,000 housing units per annum.The ultimate aim of the programme is to channel funds from savers to borrowers, so that builders have the required capital to construct and prospective buyers can access credit to purchase.”
Governor Ajimobi contended that the fund will attract low cost local and international capital, including from domestic pension and insurance funds and federal government funding, as well as contributions from state governments and their agencies. According to him, the roles of the states include “to designate a liaison with whom Family Homes Fund can interface, expedite building plan approval process and security of land title and invest in enabling infrastructure, e.g. federal roads.”
On her part, Ononuga noted that the minister of finance reported to council that the balance in the Excess Crude Account is $2.453 billion as at September 20, 2016.
On the floating forex policy introduced by the CBN, she said, “CBN introduced cautious Monetary Policy orientation as dictated by consumer price and exchange rate. “Adoption of policy tightening measures for flexible forex rate to address persistent pressures occasioned by scarcity and speculative demands, improving market dynamics by CBN and interventions to states in the area of salaries and in commercial agriculture.”
The presentation also noted the following: “Controlling inflation is key to stabilising other macroeconomic indices and the current stance of monetary policy is expected to continue to help lock-in inflation expectations.”
The deputy governor also added that the minister of finance reported to Council that N50 billion had so far been disbursed to state governments and the facility is ongoing.