A former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi thursday called on the federal government to introduce a policy that will deepen the nation’s capital market through privatisation of assets.
Speaking at second annual Capital Market Summit of the Association of Owners of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON) in Lagos, Obi said it was wrong for the government to be giving funds to companies that have already been privatised.
According to him, going forward, government should put in place privatisation model that sets a limit and encourages the privatised firms to be listed in the capital and raise funds for their operations.
The former governor, who spoke on; ‘Financing Infrastructure Development and Industrialisation; the Capital Market Way’, noted that what we are doing is “privatising profit and sharing losses.
“We are the only country that privatise wrongly. I was in the UK when Margaret Thatcher decided to private British Airways London Electricity among others. It was a deliberate policy that you have to get investors. In our own case, what we did was to privatise profit and share losses. We should enact a policy that set limit and allow the privatised entities to be listed and raise funds from the market subsequently. Today we are borrowing from China to build airports. Go to South Africa, India, Turkey, they raise funds from the capital market to build infrastructure,” he said.
Continuing he said: “Today you sell an asset to Mr. Obi, tomorrow you say the asset cannot work and government will intervene and give him more money. I am saying get these assets and sell to the public. All the money you put into power assets, for instance, let them go to the capital market raise additional funds. When are quoted in the market their operations will become more open and efficient.”
Obi reiterated that the Nigerian economy is recession because we failed to save in the past.
“And our constitution says we cannot save. There is no constitution in the world that does encourage savings. We have what is called the federation account where all government revenues are paid and shared among the three tiers of government. There is no provision for savings. Sharing is what we have been doing all the while. And it is worst when you are getting your money from an extractive industry which is a diminishing asset. If there there have been savings since we started exploring oil, we would have been better. But forget about the past. It’s gone. So what can be done about tomorrow? We have to start saving now,” he stated.