By Kauthar Anumba-Khaleel, Abuja
The federal government is set to sell key national assets in a bid to generate sufficient revenue to finance her annual budgets between 2018 and 2020.
Director of Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, gave the hint yesterday at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives joint committees on 2018-2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF/ Fiscal Strategy Paper.
Akabueze also noted that proceeds from sales of key government assets, including NIPP plants, national parks as well as the National Arts Theatre and Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos are to be deployed as financing items for the 2018 budget.
Other items to be sold are non-core assets from the mines and steel sector such as houses and estates.
The Budget Office boss said proceeds from privatization of key government assets are factored in the 2018 budget to finance the budget deficit of N2.005 trillion, much of which will be financed through domestic and foreign.
According to the budget office, the country was generating too little revenue; hence, “the need to borrow”.
The DG 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. If we generate enough, borrowing ratio will drop”, he stated.
The chairman of the House joint committee, Hon, Babaginda Aliu, frowned at the absence of five government agencies to the session, which he described as critical to the 2018 budget consideration and passage.
He noted that the late submission of the MTEF/ Fiscal strategy paper notwithstanding, the committee is committed to streamlining its activities to ensure the passage of the document and that the budget is passed in record time.
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