By Babajide Okeowo
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP has warned that selling valuable public properties to fund the 2021 budget would be counter-productive.
To this effect, the group in a statement issued by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, appealed to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila to bar the President from carrying out such moves via a letter addressed on January 16.
“This would be vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement. It would undermine the social contract with Nigerians, leave the government worse off, and hurt the country in the long run. It is neither necessary nor in the public interest” the group said.
The group called on the leadership of the National Assembly to urgently review the 2021 appropriation legislation to stop the government of President Muhammadu Buhari from selling public properties to fund the 2021 budget and to identify areas in the budget to cut such as salaries and allowances for members and the Presidency to make sayings to address the growing level of deficit and borrowing.
“The National Assembly has a constitutional and oversight responsibility to protect valuable public properties and to ensure responsible budget spending. Allowing the government to sell public properties, and to enjoy almost absolute discretion to borrow to fund the 2021 budget would amount to a fundamental breach of constitutional and fiduciary duties” the group added.
Recall that the Federal Government had disclosed its plans to sell some public infrastructures as part of measures to fund the deficit in the 2021 Budget. FG also planned to borrow the about N896bn in dormant accounts as well.