Moribund assets, not good ones should go, says APBN

 Foluso Fasoto,

Foluso Fasoto,

Tasks govt on public officers’ tax, procurement rules

Amid the raging controversy over the planned sale of national assets, the Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) said it is only the moribund ones that are due for sale.

The body of professionals said that while there is need for money at the moment to finance the budget and support growth of the economy, the ills of selling the functioning public assets will be regretted.

The President of APBN, Foluso Fasoto, who made the position of the body known at its board meeting in Lagos, the situation only calls for “thinking outside the box” and queried: “Should we continue to operate the economy the same way we have been doing and still expect a different result?”

At the meeting, hosted by the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), he specifically declared that APBN is not in support of the sale of the country’s good assets like the Nigeria LNG Limited and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

While reiterating that moribund ones should be sold, like the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills and Oshogbo Steel Rolling Mill, among others, he warned that the sale remains subject to proper inventory and valuation.“There is need to engage the services of our member-bodies in the relevant sectors of economy to first of all, ascertain the nature of the liquidity gap, carry out the inventory and analysis of all the national assets and recommend to the government the quickest and most feasible ways of bridging the liquidity gap.

“This step will however require the full support of all the three arms of government – Executive, legislature and judiciary,” he said.He called for harmony among the three arms, to ensure that all the relevant bills that can stimulate the economy, but currently pending at the various legislative houses in the country should be considered and passed by the legislators.

“Any sale of moribund national assets requiring legislative consideration should be expeditiously attended to. The judiciary should stop the blame game of conflicting court judgements, endless adjournment of cases, especially those bordering on corruption and ensure the speedy judicial process generally.

“All looters of our common wealth that are currently still in government should be identified, rather than spared under the guise of political espirit de corp and brought to book. With this a common man will find it comfortable to endure the pains from recession.

He said that the new slogan, “Change Begins With Me”, will have added meaning with a visible support for the anti corruption crusade by government itself being more transparent and accountable.

Already, professionals have noticed that some of the requirements expected to be met when bidding for projects, under the Public Procurement Act, are somehow not applicable to professional services, which work against smaller firms.

“APBN will be happy to know the tax details of each public officers in Nigeria, more so when the Personal Income Tax Act, no. P4, LFN 2004 as amended to date has now provided for tax assessment of the official emoluments of the President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors.

“This singular act of the public officers will stimulate the growth of the tax revenue accruable to the government.“APBN calls on Government at all levels to submit the list of any Nigerian professional found culpable for appropriate disciplinary procedure in line with the relevant charter of our members,” he said.

The former tax institute’s chief also warned that while the economic hardship now is the price for monumental failure of government to use trillions of dollars earned since the oil boom, it has become imperative to lay foundation of inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Adding that diversification should no longer be rhetoric, he challenged the present administration to accelerate the development of other sectors of the economy, especially the real sector and agriculture, as well as build the requisite industrial infrastructure.

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