By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—The Federal Government has said that talks about selling off the national assets, such as Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas, NLNG, were mere speculations emanating from the imaginations of individuals and not from government.
Government said it was still working on other methodologies to reflate the economy without necessarily selling national assets.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated the position of government when asked to contribute to the debate trailing the matter at a briefing after a meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday.
The National Economic Council, NEC, chaired by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, last week rose from a meeting and threw its weight behind the idea as a way of repositioning the recessed economy.
But speaking yesterday, Mohammed said NEC position was advisory, stressing that the final decision rested with FEC.
He said: “Government is still working on the most comprehensive manner to reflate the economy and will make its position known very soon.
“What the government will do is to reflate the economy, everything you have heard so far is just suggestion, until the government makes its position known, all these assets sale, assets leasing, whatever is being bandied about; they are nothing but speculations. The government is yet to come out with its position on how to bail out the economy and it will do that position.
“NEC will recommend but it is the federal executive council that will decide and what we decide will be the position of government.”
Meanwhile, FEC has given its nod for the streamlining of water resources national policies to boost the sector.
Mohammed, who briefed State House Correspondents alongside the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, said FEC considered the issue of water resources as not one that should be left in the hands of individuals but the government.
“Water, today like no other time, has become one of the most important resources with economic, social and political implications. And the judicious use/allocation of water for human, animals, livestock, industry has become more than ever one of the serious issues facing humanity,” he said.
“As a matter of fact, many countries have gone to war over the issue of water. So, I believe it is only timely that Nigeria is proactive and we consider the issue of water resources as not one that should be left in the hands of anybody but a federal government took it seriously,” he said.
Also speaking, Water Resources Minister, Adamu, said the policies were three, including National Water Policy, National Irrigation Policy and a Draft National Water Resources Bill.
He said the national water policy would increase efficiency in the management of the sector.
He said: “Today we presented three memos to FEC. One was on National Water Policy, National Irrigation Policy and a Draft National Water Resources Bill.
“National Water Policy, seeks to provide strategies that will improve the management and delivery of water in the country in particular reference to water supply. It is followed by the enabling law, that is National Water Resources Bill, which essentially consolidates all the existing laws, the Water Resources Act, the River Basin Development Authority Act , National Water Resources Institute Act, National Hydrological Services Act and other Acts put together to form a national law that conforms international standard and international best practices.
“By so doing we have been able to streamline many of the overlapping laws, sometimes we have conflict in laws, like the one we have with NIWA, some laws relating to environment, mining.
“This bill seeks to sought out all those issues so that we have a standard national law, also so that we can set up a proper regulatory agency to regulate the water sector. With that, the door is now open for the private sector to come in in a big way to invest in water supply schemes in this country.