ABUJA Feb 14 (Reuters) – Nigeria will sell some national assets to reduce the burden on government budgets and help pull the economy out of recession, according to official documents, but a ministry spokesman on Tuesday disputed a reported amount.
Africa’s biggest economy relies on crude oil exports to fuel its economy, but low global prices and militant attacks on the southeastern Delta oil hub have hammered those exports and slashed government revenues.
Bloomberg on Monday reported that Nigeria planned to generate as much as $16.4 billion through asset sales in the next four years to reduce the burden on the public budget, citing a budget ministry document.
Budget ministry spokesman James Apande said the government was finalising draft proposals in its Economy Recovery and Growth Plan document and “has no recommendation for raising that amount of revenue from sale of assets”.
He said 60 strategies have been developed to achieve its economic recovery plan between 2017 to 2020, focusing on macroeconomic stability, small businesses, food and energy security.
A draft of the budget ministry document seen by Reuters on Saturday said “selected national assets will be privatised to reduce fiscal burden of the privatised institutions on the government”. But it did not identify the assets.
The Nigerian government last week sold a 15-year Eurobond to fetch $1 billion and it was oversubscribed. It has said it will issue a $300 million diaspora bond after the Eurobond sale and also plans to issue a debut sukuk in the local market.
The government plans to raise up to $5 billion abroad, it has said, and also plans to tap the World Bank.
On Tuesday, Nigeria’s accountant-general Ahmed Idris said the West African country has collected 5.244 trillion naira ($17.3 billion) in its account with central bank after merging its over 200,000 accounts with commercial banks to tackle graft.
($1 = 304.00 naira) (Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Additional reporting by Tife Owolabi; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Tom Heneghan)
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