The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the final decision to sell national assets will be taken by the Federal Executive Council, which essentially comprises the President, the Vice-President and the 36 ministers.
Mohammed said calls by the National Economic Council − which comprises the 36 governors and the Vice-President – for the assets to be sold was of no consequence.
The minister said this on Wednesday while fielding questions from State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari
Mohammed was accompanied by the Minister of Water Resources, Sulaiman Adamu.
He said, “The government is still working on the most comprehensive manner to lift the economy and the government will make its position known very soon.
“What the government will do is to expand 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, they are nothing but speculations.
“The government has yet to come out with its position on how to bail out the economy and it will take that position.
“NEC will recommend but it is the Federal Executive Council that will decide and what we decide will be the position of the government.”
Mohammed and Adamu disclosed that FEC approved three memos from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
Mohammed said, “Water today, like no other time, has become one of the most important resources with economic, social and political implications. And the judicious use and allocation of water for human, animals, livestock and industry have become more than ever one of the serious issues facing humanity.
“As a matter of fact, many countries have gone to war over the issue of water. So, I believe it is only timely that Nigeria is proactive and has considered the issue of water resources.”
Also speaking, Adamu listed the three memos to include the National Water Policy, the National Irrigation Policy and a Draft National Water Resources Bill.
He said, “The National Water Policy seeks to provide strategies that will improve the management and delivery of water in the country in particular reference to water supply.
“It is followed by the enabling law, that is the National Water Resources Bill, which essentially consolidates all the existing laws, the Water Resources Act, the River Basin Development Authority Act, the National Water Resources Institute Act, the National Hydrological Services Act and other Acts put together to form a national law that conforms to international standard and international best practices.
“By so doing, we have been able to streamline many of the overlapping laws. Sometimes, we have conflict in laws, like the one we have with NIWA, some laws relating to environment and mining. This bill seeks to sort 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 the new development, he said the door was now open for the private sector to come in to invest in water supply schemes in the country.
He said that the irrigation and drainage policy sought to recognise and bring in a water users’ association and generally improve not only irrigation infrastructure but irrigation management in the country.