The Nigerian Senate said it has been kept out of the loop on the federal government’s plan to either sell or concession certain national assets to raise funds for the 2021 appropriation budget.

The Senate spoke through Theodore Orji, Chairman of its Committee on Privatisation.

Orji said the stance of the Senate Committee on Privatisation is: “We are not aware of the planned arrangement by the Bureau of Public Enterprises to either concession or put for outright sale, some national assets in the country in order to fund the 2021 federal budget.”

This is as FG through the Bureau of Public Enterprises unveiled plans to sell the nation’s Integrated Power Plants in Geregu, Omotosho and Calabar at N434bn in 2021.

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It had also concluded arrangements for the concession of National Art Theatre, Tafawa Balewa Square and all the River Basin Development Authorities at N836m.

Necessary plans had been concluded for the concession of the National Stadium in Lagos, the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja, and two others for N100m.

Information on the planned sales and concession of the national assest was contained in a document presented by the Bureau of Public Enterprises obtained by our correspondent on Sunday.

The Director General of BPE, Alex Okoh, presented the documents to the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation during the 2021 budget defence sessions.

But Orji denied knowledge of the entire plan while speaking with journalists on Tuesday.

He said, “During the BPE budget defence before my committee, I complained bitterly that the relationship between our committee and the BPE, has not been very cordial due to the behaviour of the DG, BPE.

“This is a man that if we call him on phone, he would not answer and if we send him a text message, he would not reply. How then does he want us to communicate?”

He added that there should be a synergy between the Senate or its committee on privatisation and the BPE.

Kleptocrats have formed a major part of Buhari’s govt – APC Senator, Ali Ndume Declares

Meanwhile, Ali Ndume, senator representing Borno south senatorial district, says President Muhammadu Buhari is being betrayed by kleptocrats who have formed a major part of his government. 

Speaking on Sunday Politics, a Channels Television programme, the senator said though the president has done his best, there are people in his government undermining his achievements.

Asked to score his party, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC)  after five years in power, he said: “I can’t say I am happy truly. We have done our best but that is not enough. But the most frustrating aspect of it is that there are some gaps there that are not necessary.

“Here we are with a president that we have tried three times to get him elected, we didn’t succeed. We tried the fourth time and we succeeded. I know and believe that truly President Muhammadu Buhari is a genuine person that has the interest of the common man at heart. He has the integrity and the competence. But unfortunately, the government as I have said it several times, even some people come out to insult me.

“The kleptocrats in the government have formed the majority and therefore betraying the laudable projects or policies that the president wants to implement.

“I can tell you that from the beginning, we came in with three main agenda. One is to secure the country, two is to fight corruption and three is to provide infrastructure. You cannot say that the president has not performed in these three areas. But the impact and then the implementation is the problem.

“Under normal circumstance, you don’t expect the president to do that personally himself. He is supposed to get the able hands. That is where the problem started. That is where we have the problem.

“I will give you example, a case of the youth. When we were campaigning, we saw many youth and the president asked, what are we going to do with this? That was when the idea of N-Power came.

“On the first year he approved N500bn and the money was released for graduates to be employed, especially in teaching and other areas and all that. But if you hear the number and the impact, they don’t just add up. You hardly see it on ground, that is where the problem is.”

Ndume accused government officials of not doing their job to ensure that the social investment programmes set up by the president yield the desired results.

“For the past five years, the president has been supporting the people. He came up with TraderMoni and then Anchor’s Borrower’s Project, he came up recent with youth investment programme of N75bn and then another additional N25bn was set aside to pay attention to the requirement that will enable them to take off. But those charged with the responsibility of implementing these laudable projects approved by the president are not doing their job.

“You could see even during the COVID-19 pandemic when there was lock down, the president and the business community and the non-governmental agencies came in and then gave the support. But then what happened? They went and locked these thing in various warehouses and then the people went and ransack those places. All these thing would have been avoided.”

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