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In support of sale of assets

Just when I was writing the IMF for the true meaning and ramification of recession, our Brexited finance minister says the recession would soon be…

Just when I was writing the IMF for the true meaning and ramification of recession, our Brexited finance minister says the recession would soon be over. Hurray! Usually, when the virus hits other nations, it tends to overstay its welcome. But as a praying nation, heaven apparently decided to send this recession another race. Already, ministries plan to hire through the front door – hallelujah.
This is why I find government’s insistence on selling off performing assets rather curious. The logic of this in Naija is that if your house is on fire, don’t call the fire brigade, rush off to E-bay and attempt to sell it to a curious buyer. I believe there are more articles of value that could go under the auctioneer’s hammer before we get to NNPC or NLNG. There are assets that could be bought by those falling off the Forbes list and seeking backdoor redemption.
Here is one little attempt to refocus and redirect; now that Alhaji Lie has confirmed that indeed assets are being considered for sale. Since our immediate problem is how to cash back the 2016 budget, I have been thinking for the unthinking bureaucrats what to parcel for the auctioneer. These beats the suggestions of common sense legislooters suggesting that we tinker with legislathief and executhief jumbo salaries and allowances. But while we’re there, if we parcel the legislature and employ part-time consultant draftsmen, we could save the nation about N205 billion.
We are very familiar with a system in which the Executhief sells off prospective assets and buying them by proxy, then storing them in blind trusts. The Wizard of Ota taught us a few of those tricks.
A look at the 2016 budget reveals that the Executhief arm was to spend 96 percent or N5.87 trillion of the N6.1 trillion budgeted. Now, what does the executhief need this gargantuan money for? Sai Baba’s office was to be run with N3.9 billion. Part of this money was to be used to purchase vehicles for a frugal president. We had all thought that Sai Baba would adopt the Gandhi principle of what Naija does not produce, Naija should not use. For over 50 years, Fidel Castro adopted this and Cubans moved from place to place. We don’t have to chauffeur the president in limousine; he didn’t drive one before he was elected. Farming out the executhief bureaucracy to consultants would be of greater good than budgeted.
Until the first wife took the courage and audacity to move into Camp Buhari, Sai Baba was functional enough from Aguda House. I am not proposing that we sell Aso Rock, which, according to el-Rufai is not on the original Abuja Masterplan; I am suggesting that we retain one wing for the president and his kitchen staff. This could save us N136.9 million budgeted for the Internet Infrastructure of Sai Baba’s driver.
We have spent one year rightly blaming President Jones’ profligate spending, why not go one step further and lease out his former abode? There are big boys and girls in Naija who would pay any amount just to sleep on President Jones’ bed for a night. There are owambe-crazy people who would love to hire the Council Chambers for the reception ceremony of their children’s wedding or the new craze – retirement parties. From now till the end of this financial year, we could generate enough from renting out these facilities to offset budgetary deficit and even sign a contract for a Rock that is higher than the present one.
Imagine a clinic gulping more than all the teaching hospitals in Naija, yet not suitable for treating a presidential earache. From the time of Yardy through this era, this clinic has been nothing but a drainpipe. This year alone, it was allotted N3.87 billion. Let’s lease this clinic to those who bought and have been running Garki hospital with a condition that they foot the bills for any presidential ailment they cannot treat. I bet they would prefer to fly in consultants with state of the art equipment instead of flying Sai Baba’s and a coterie of aides at an extra £50,000. That way, maybe a few of their consultants could learn a thing or two that would benefit those suffering tinnitus.
How about selling off government bureaucracy? Figures showed that it costs around N2.20 trillion to run the office of Madam Phonetics and that of her budgetary counterpart this year. If we contracted the Naija budgetary process to Pricewaterhouse Coopers, it would cost us just a fraction of this amount and then we could blame them for all the inefficiency, laxity and indolence that invited recession. We could even ask Ban Ki Moon to blacklist them for failure and they wouldn’t want to fail because they have a reputation to protect.
There was a computing budget of N27.5 million and a software acquisition at N268.9 million which could be contracted to Microsoft. They would do this job for a fraction of the cost; after all, what do we have to hide? Indeed, there are things we could farm out or sell and still keep NLNG for a generation that may know how to make things work, profitably.

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