The Social-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has decided to block President Muhammadu Buhari’s federal government from selling public property to help finance the national budget for 2021.
In a letter addressed to the governance of the National Assembly, the group said that instead of selling national assets, it should cut the salaries and allowances of legislators and other government leaders.
In its letter presented to Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila on Saturday,
SERAP stated that the government should look for other way to finance the financial plan, as it would be detrimental to sell public property to finance the 2021 budget.
It stated that a legal proceedings against the government will be implemented and the National Assembly will be joined in the suit if the proposal is not reversed.
“The SERAP statement says: “We requested Dr. Ahmad Lawan and Honorable Femi Gbajabiamila to restrict President Buhari from selling public property
to finance the 2021 budget and to focus on areas to be slashed in the budget, like the wages and allowances for members and the Presidency, to address the growing shortfall and borrowing level.
“It is the constitutional and supervisory duty of the National Assembly to protect valuable public property and to guarantee accountable budgetary spending.”
“It would be a gross violation of constitutional and fiduciary responsibilities to allow the president to sell government property and to enjoy almost absolute discretion to borrow to fund the 2021 budget.”
”It would be counter-productive to sell useful government property to help finance the 2021 budget, as this would be open to fraud and poor management.
It would weaken the Nigerian legal framework, leave the government worse off, and, in the long run, hurt the country.”
“It is now time for the National Assembly governance to rise up for the Nigerian people, stop the hurry to sell government property,
push for an accountable budget, and assist attempts to make responsible spending by the government.”
“In order to prevent the Federal Government from selling government property, we would consider the possibility of taking legal action and we could join the National Assembly in any such action.”
It was announced earlier by the media team that the government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari has stated that it will sell some government-owned property to help finance the 2021 budget.
The federal government has also revealed that some non-oil property will be sold to act as an extra funding source for the budget for the year.
The growth was revealed in a presentation to stakeholders on the signed 2021 budget made in Abuja by the minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed.
The presentation was dated 12th January, which was entitled ‘FGN Approved Budget 2021 Public Presentation- Breakdown and Highlights’.
This comes a few days after Nigeria’s federal government revealed that it is aiming at borrowing to fund the 2021 budget from unclaimed dividends and inactive bank deposits.