Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has warned the Federal government that selling public properties to fund the 2021 budget would hurt Nigeria in the future.
The organisation urged the Senate President Dr Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of House of Representatives Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, to review the 2021 appropriation legislation to stop President Muhammadu Buhari from selling public properties to fund the 2021 budget.
The Minister of Finance Mrs Zainab Ahmed had last week confirmed that the Federal Government would sell some-government-owned properties to fund the 2021 budget.
In a letter dated 16 January 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said, “The National Assembly has a constitutional and oversight responsibility to protect valuable public properties and to ensure a 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.
“Selling valuable public properties to fund the 2021 budget would be counter-productive, as 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 country’s fiscal situation must be changed – and changed quickly – through some combination of cuts in spending on salaries and allowances, and a freeze on spending in certain areas of the budget such as hardship and furniture allowances, entertainment allowances, international travels, and buying of motor vehicles and utilities for members and the Presidency.”