By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja.
The Federal Government on Wednesday described
as mere speculations, suggestions that it had concluded plans to sell some choice national assets as part of measures to contain the current recession.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the Federal Executivve Council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the government was yet to take a concrete decision on how best to address the current economic recession in the country.
The Economic Management Team (EMT) had penultimate week announced that the Federal Government was looking at the possibility of raising about 15 billion dollars from the sale of some national assets to fund the 2016 budget and reflate the ailing economy.
That proposal has received the endorsements of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and the National Economic Council (NEC).
Mohammed said: “Government is still working on the most comprehensive manner to reflate the economy and the government 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 there 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 is the federal executive council that will decide and what we decide will be the position of government.”
The Council also approved three memos from the ministry of Water Resources in moves by the government to provide strategies that would improve the delivery and management of water in the country.
The memos were, National Water Policy, National Irrigation Policy and a Draft National Water Resources Bill which which will be forwarded to the National Assembly.
The National Water Policy seeks to provide strategies that would improve the management and delivery of water in the country with particular reference to water supply.
The National Water Resources Bill essentially consolidates all the existing laws including 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 with international best practices.
Water Resources Minister, Sulieman Adamu who disclosed this at the briefing explained that the Purpose was to streamline some of the many overlapping laws that were in conflict with National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), environment and mining, among others.
Adamu explained that the “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.
The Minister further stated that the irrigation and drainage policy seeks to recognise and bring in water users association and generally improve not only irrigation infrastructure but irrigation management in the country.
He said Nigeria had the potential of 3.4 million hectares of land for irrigation and we have only been able to reach about 130,000 which has been developed formally, with only about 70,000 being utilised.
“So, there is a huge gap and we feel that introducing this policy will help us to work along at federal and at regional level with the states so that we will have all encompassing policy that will help our agriculture agenda for now. And also support our national irrigation policy that introduce under a roadmap that is suppose to be from this year to 2030. It won’t go well without this policy,” he said.
By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja.