Due to the huge deficit in the 2023 budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly, the Federal Government is working on selling some national assets, including the 50-year-old Tafawa Balewa Square.
Built in 1972, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) is situated in the centre of Lagos Island’s commercial district. It was built at the spot where Nigeria celebrated her independence on the 1st of October, 1960.
TBS, as it is popularly known, is a ceremonial ground with a capacity of 50,000 people, shopping centres, Airline Travel Agencies, Restaurants and Bus terminals.
Investors King gathered that other federal government assets which are likely to be sold include a number of power plants: “the National Integrated Power Projects in Olorunsogo, Calabar II, Omotosho II and Geregu II plants, Oyan Hydro Power Plant, Katsina Alu and Giri Power Plants”.
According to insider sources, some of the assets will be offered to investors for equity while others will be sold to reduce waste.
Similarly, the Federal Government is considering ways of enhancing the value of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation by listing it in the stock market to raise capital as was the case with Saudi Aramco.
In July 2022, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) changed its name to Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to pave the way for its transition from a government-owned enterprise to a limited liability company.
In addition, sources confirmed that the Federal Government may extend its tentacles to hotels and landed properties, especially those that could be described as dead capital, to raise money. This will enable the government to have more funds to finance the 2023 budget.
It will be recalled that the 2023 budget proposal with a total sum of N20.5 trillion has a budget deficit of N10.7 trillion. The deficit, therefore, represents 50 percent of the entire budget. Termed ” Budget of Fiscal Sustainability and Transition”, the 2023 budget will be the last to be prepared by the present administration.
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Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
Nigeria Spends N231.27 Billion on Arms Procurement in Four Years Amidst Rising Security Challenges
The Federal Government of Nigeria has disbursed a total of N231.27 billion for arms and ammunition procurement over the past four years.
Despite this significant investment, security agencies argue that the allocated funds are insufficient to effectively tackle the myriad security challenges afflicting the nation.
Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, defended the substantial budget for arms purchases during a session with the House of Representatives.
He emphasized that Nigeria’s dependence on foreign countries for military hardware, which are priced in dollars, diminishes the impact of the substantial budget when converted to the local currency.
General Musa explained, “We don’t produce what we need in Nigeria, and if you do not produce what you need, that means you are at the beck and call of the people that produce these items. All the items we procured were bought with hard currency, none in naira.”
He further illustrated the challenges faced, citing that a precision missile for drones costs $5,000, underscoring the magnitude of the expenses associated with arms procurement.
An analysis of the annual budgets for the Ministry of Defence and eight other armed forces from 2020 to 2022 reveals allocations of N11.72 billion, N10.78 billion, and N9.64 billion, respectively.
In 2023, N47.02 billion was disbursed for arms procurement, supplemented by a recently passed budget of N184.25 billion, resulting in a total of N231.27 billion.
Security expert Chidi Omeje raised concerns about the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), which is tasked with manufacturing arms locally. Omeje criticized DICON’s underperformance, urging the government to revamp the agency to reduce reliance on foreign nations for arms and ammunition.
Omeje stressed, “The new government must make sure that DICON lives up to its responsibilities,” highlighting the urgency of fostering self-sufficiency in arms production to address the country’s security challenges effectively.
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