Will Buhari be transparent with his emergency powers?

Will Buhari be transparent with his emergency powers?

By Ebuka Nwankwo

Last month, The Nigerian Times reported that President Buhari was perfecting plans to sell off Nigeria’s stake in NLNG to some businessmen from the Middle East. The paper reported that this deal was been brokered by an influential northern governor.

To the best of my knowledge, no one has denied this report from this newspaper yet.

But the NLNG is an act of parliament. The president needs legislative approval to sell off Nigeria’s 49 percent stake in this organization – if he’s planning to sell as reported. This could be time consuming. Should he be interested in selling off these assets, and of course in good time, he needs emergency powers. Such powers will allow him ‘’abridge the process of sale or lease of government assets to generate revenues’’. (There are reports that the president intends to seek these emergency powers soon).

The president has made comments to suggest he wants to sell off some strategic assets. During his campaign, the president was quoted as saying, “Our manifesto says we are going to break up the NNPC………but the ultimate answer may well be to divest the whole thing. It is an idea that will be seriously looked at.”

In fact, Mr. Emefiele, the CBN governor, argued, in 2015, that Nigeria would easily raise $75 billion from selling off a little over half of its stakes in JV companies. (Nigeria owns about 55 % in most oil and gas joint ventures, while oil majors hold the remaining 45%).

But these assets are the livewire of Nigeria. They are national strategic assets – without them Nigeria might not be able to earn dollars. In fact, in the US and other western countries, there are strict regulations guiding foreign investments that could increase foreign influence, and of course, impact on their national security.

Whoever controls majority stake in these assets will have an overbearing influence on Nigeria and Nigerians. (Presently, Nigerian has majority stakes in JV companies). So, the sale of these assets requires national debates, and should not be done with executive powers, if it was ever considered.

Nigeria has learnt a lot from the sale of national assets. The PHCN assets are good examples. Should the buyers of NLNG, for instance, not have enough money to grow the company – just as we have seen with the new owners of PHCN – the company might become a shadow of itself. That’s after the new buyers might have shred it into pieces. Right now some might see the NLNG as a cash machine – the company is still very profitable.

And most worrisome is the fact that Nigeria has no concrete strategy on how to invest the proceeds from these sales. It is not enough to just mouth infrastructural development. All the proceeds from these assets cannot turn Nigeria into what Dubai is today.

Besides, the sale of these assets requires strong strategic thinking. Should oil prices go up tomorrow, will Nigeria feel shortchanged if the assets were sold with valuations from today’s oil prices and with assumptions that oil prices might never go up again, as some experts believe?

The truth is: Should Buhari follow due process in selling off these assets, he might not be able to sell them before 2019. Interestingly, Dangote argues that Nigeria needs this money to invest its way out of recession, as quickly as possible.

There should be no rush. Why? Early this year, Saudi Arabia announced that it was going to sell off 5 percent of its stake in the state owned energy giant, Aramco. It plans to conclude the sale by 2018. It might even take longer. This is how sales of this nature are carried out – it takes time.

Yes, we need to get out of recession as soon as possible. But there are other short-term measures to take.

One, security votes could be abolished in order to free up capital for more productive ventures. Two, we could sort for low interest loans. Three, Nigeria could fast-track the concessioning of infrastructure such as highways, ports and airports. These could be done while the country works out a unanimous strategy on how to sell off its stakes in these oil assets

With Aliko Dangote and the Senate president putting their weight behind the sale of these assets, the president only needs to make relevant requests to the parliament and support his argument with strong points in town hall meetings across the country.

I agree that the NNPC has been a cesspit, as some NEITI reports have confirmed, but a non-transparent divestment might set this country backwards.

 

aljazirah adverts


follow us on twitter @aljazirahnewsng
Like us on Facebook @aljazirahnewsng

Share This:

Related Posts

Jacob Zuma’s son faces murder trial Duduzane Zuma, son of President Jacob Zuma will face trial soon for culpable homicide, Rights group Afriforum  said on Tuesday. Duduzume would privately be prosecuted over an accident in 2014 where one person was killed. South African prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who laid out the murder case against...
Buhari to attend D-8 summit in Turkey President Muhammadu Buhari will Wednesday depart for Istanbul, Turkey to participate in the ninth Summit of the Developing 8 (D-8) on Friday, October 20, 2017. Prior to the D-8 Summit, President Buhari, at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, will participate in an official...
Buhari, state govs meeting inside Aso Rock President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting with some governors inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The governors at the meeting include those of Zamfara, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Jigawa, Kebbi, Ondo and Kwara States. Details later
Nnamdi Kanu absent in court as Senator who stood surety back... The leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, was absent in court on Tuesday morning as his trial for alleged treason continued at an Abuja court. A senator who stood as surety for Mr. Kanu also asked to be relieved of that role. Mr. Kanu is facing trial along with three ot...
Buhari’s presidency: We’ve nothing to show for b... The North has debunked the impression by many Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari is a tribal leader, saying there is nothing in the region to show that he has favoured the Northern region more than other parts of the country. Leaders across the North, who were in unison on the position, th...
Yobe tackles open defecation with 200 public toilets The Yobe Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency says it has constructed more than 200 toilets at Internally Displaced Persons camps and other public places to curtail open defecation. The General Manager of the agency, Alhaji Mohammed Bukar, on Monday in Damaturu said the agency had also laun...
Reps flay delay in Ogoni clean-up House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Habitat on Monday visited some oil impacted sites in Ogoni area of Rivers State and expressed dissatisfaction with the delay in the clean-up. The committee led by its Chairman, Mr. Obinna Chidoka, had arrived in Port Harcourt to know the level...
Man, 54, remanded for rape of girl, 8 Justice Sybil Nwaka of the Lagos State High Court Igbosere has ordered for the remand of a 54- year-old man, Ayara Micheal who allegedly defiled an 8-year-old girl in prison prison custody. The defendant will be in prison custody pending the determination of his bail application by the court. ...
Examination: Teachers fast, pray as Kaduna plans sack The Nigeria Union of Teachers, Zaria Local Government Area Branch, will on Tuesday begin three days of fasting and prayers to seek God’s intervention on the planned sack of 20,000 primary school teachers. Kaduna State Government had conducted an examination for primary school teachers in the stat...
Agbakoba asks court to sack Buhari as petroleum minister A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, has urged the Federal High Court in Abuja to restrain President Muhammadu Buhari from continuing to hold the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources. The SAN contends that Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution forbids the President from “hold...
Buhari must justify appointments, projects – CACOL The Executive Chairman of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, has urged people not to be quick in criticising President Muhammadu Buhari on the perceived nepotism in appointments and projects allocations carried out by his administration. The CACOL boss, however, ...
Alaafin picks Gani Adams as new Aare Ona Kakanfo The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, on Sunday declared the National Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress, Gani Adams, as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland. The position was held last by the late MKO Abiola, who died in the detention camp of the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Ab...
Death toll from Somalia bomb attacks rises to 300 – Official... Authorities on Monday confirmed that 300 people died in twin bomb explosions in Mogadishu, as locals packed hospitals in search of friends and relatives caught up in Somalia’s deadliest attack in a decade. Abdikadir Abdirahman, director city ambulance service, told Reuters on Monday that the deat...