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MOFI: Some assets owned by federal government are unknown, dead

The ministry of finance incorporated (MOFI) says some assets owned by the federal government are unknown, while others are “dead and gone”.

MOFI is a corporation solely vested with the responsibility to manage all federal government investments, interests, estates, easements and rights.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, on Wednesday, inaugurated the new the governing council, board of directors and executive management team of MOFI.

Speaking at the ceremony, Shamsudeen Usman, MOFI’s new board chairman, said the federal governments assets currently have an estimated value of N18-19 trillion.

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The former minister of finance, however, said there is uncertainty about actual the assets owned by the federal government as some are unknown.

He said MOFI will do a detailed inventory to produce a credible national register of the assets.

Usman said the register would help to eliminate uncertainties regarding assets owned by the government.

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“There is no body in government today that can tell you with certainty, [that] this is 100 percent the assets owned by the government. Unfortunately, we are in that situation, some work have started. That’s why we arrived at this estimated N18- N19 trillion. But there are some that are even not known. There’s a lot of uncertainty. Where are they? Where are they all over the country? What’s the value? And how can we turn them around?” he said.

“I’ve seen the list. For example, some of the quoted companies in which the government owns shares, are dead already, dead and gone. But it is in the register that government is still owning some of those shares, but the companies are no more.

“You know, I think in terms of the major assets today, the petroleum assets, for example, are huge. NNPC itself is partly owned by MOFI, the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, NEXIM, our shareholding in the Islamic Bank, African Development Bank, these are all assets we own. And then of course, there are some that you know, they are more or less either dead or not yielding anything.

“Some of them, we took loans to set them up. They are supposed to be commercial ventures that are supposed to actually generate the repayment of those loans. Now, in some cases, the government has paid the loans. And those institutions are still being baby nursed by the government.

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“I don’t want to give any specific example. I don’t want to embarrass some of the MDs of those companies. So, we have to work on those to say, look, how do we restructure you in such a way that you begin to yield revenue to the government. And where some of the loans are outstanding, can we generate some of the repayment of the loans from the activities of those corporations?”

MANAGING THE CONFLICT BETWEEN ICRC AND BPE

Asked how the board intends to manage the conflict between the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), since MOFI has been declared a clearing house for asset sale, Usman said the body would work with all the agencies.

He said the agencies were already part of the committee that did the initial work, adding that consultations would go on.

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“Well, I don’t want to comment on that. But certainly, you know, as a former minister, I know that there are those potential conflicts. I think what we’ll do is we will try and work together with all those agents,” he said.

“Luckily, in the background work that was done, as you heard in the minister’s speech and in the president’s, those agencies were actually involved as part of the committee that did the initial work. So, we will continue the consultation. And I’m sure at the end of the day, we will do what is in the best interest of Nigeria.”

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