As the Federal Government weighs the option of selling off some of its national assets, a top official of the current administration has disclosed that there are plans to include a buy-back clause in any of the assets sold in order to guarantee an opportunity to repurchase them, if circumstances change in the future.
The official made this known in a chat with State House correspondents yesterday.
Giving an insight into the proposal by the government to use some assets as a means of raising needed foreign currency aimed at shoring up the nation’s foreign reserves, he said: “Generally, whatever we sell, we shall get real value for, and we shall include a repurchase clause into any such sales agreements”.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, assured that there would be no shady deal in the sale of any national asset.
He also stressed that while there had been no list drawn-up of the proposed assets to be sold, “there is a clear decision not to sell any critical asset of the country and certainly no plan to outright sell-off any asset whatsoever.
“Some of the intended sales could be in form of time-bound leases, advance renewal payments on leasing licenses and concessioning, which would attract buoyant signature fees. If we even want to sell down certain assets, while our target is to get foreign currency, specifically dollars; the option would also be opened to Nigerians at some point to buy limited shares through the Nigeria Stock Exchange”.
The official further denied speculations that government was planning to sell off its shares outrightly in the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) where it owns 49 percent shares with the balance of 51 percent owned by private foreign interests.
“What the government might consider is to reduce its current 49 percent shares by 5 percent so that its shares might be slightly reduced to 44 percent or thereabouts to raise the much needed dollars.
“The Federal Government doesn’t own the entire gas company and will certainly not sell off its entire shares, but it is open to the possibility of selling down its 49 percent ownership by 5 percent or thereabouts”, he said.