19 September 2016, Abuja – The governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed that the country will soon commence the sale of about 15 per cent of its oil assets held by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is expected to yield an inflow of $10 billion to the country.
This is part of efforts to reflate the nation’s receding economy.
This is coming as the federal government has demanded $635 million from two multinational oil companies, Agip and Total, for undeclared crude oil shipped out of the country between 2011 and 2014.
Two cases have been filed at the Federal High court in Lagos by senior lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Professor Fabian Ajogwu, who had handled several cases for the federal government on aviation, defence, energy, and financial services.
Emefiele, while speaking at an interactive session with top media executives in Lagos, said the expected income would have been up to $15 billion if the assets were sold earlier in the year.
He also disclosed that a team of consultants had been commissioned to carry out a study on the proposed sale.
Recall that business mogul, Aliko Dangote, had, at the weekend, urged the federal government to sell some national assets, saying it was a better option for the country rather than borrowing money from the World Bank or IMF. According to him, what the nation needs now is to beef up its reserves. He particularly advised the government to outright sell the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd.
“My own suggestion before was that they should even sell 100 per cent of NLNG. I don’t think government should be in any business of investing in sectors of LNG. A company like that, with earnings of $1.5 billion on the average, they should get anywhere between $12 billion and $15 billion,” Dangote said.
The nation’s forex market has been hit with scarcity as the nation continues to face dwindling income from sale of crude oil, the mainstay of its economy. However, the apex bank has over the past few months been managing the issue. The CBN eventually lifted its peg on the naira after about 18 months when it decided to adopt a floating policy of the currency on June 20, 2016. It had pegged the naira at N197 to $1, which put a strain on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
Emefiele, at the session, also disclosed that the apex bank had made several adjustments in order to deepen the supply of forex in the country, which are yielding positive results. According to him, the nation’s forex market recorded an inflow of $1billion in the last two months since the liberalization of forex was carried out.
He pointed out that the only way to improve the supply of forex is to liberalise the currency and encourage portfolio investors, adding that the country recorded additional inflow of $20billion monthly into the forex market from diaspora remittances.