The government can raise over N1tn annually from the auction of idle assets, the Faculty of Auctioneering of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers has said.
The faculty said many government assets all over the country and those in the custody of law enforcement agencies could be auctioned and the revenue returned to the Treasury.
The Chairman of the faculty, Mr. Tope Ojo, made this known when he led a seven-man delegation on a courtesy visit to the Punch Place, the headquarters on Punch Nigeria Limited, on Thursday.
Ojo said, “Look at some assets of the Federal Government in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defence and others. Those are things that can be auctioned and the money returned to the Treasury.
“Look at all the cars parked at police stations and seized items in the custody of the Nigeria Customs Service; these are things the government can get value from. According to statistics by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, as of today they have assets of about N2tn; the CBN said collaterised assets that are non-performing are over N860bn; the EFCC says they are in custody of assets in excess of billions of naira, and at the airport there are many abandoned planes.
“We can get over N1tn from idle assets in Nigeria. Look at those vessels on the sea; go to all the police stations in Lagos, for instance, and you will see cars. The government needs money to finance the budget and cut out waste, and these cannot be achieved without involving auctioneers.”
He added that estate surveyors and valuers could be consulted as professionals to value the assets, give inventory and auction them, adding that funds raised from the assets and other intangible assets could finance health and education.
According to him, auctioneering will also help the government in the fight against corruption, adding that “the process is well recorded, and for a government fighting corruption, auction is the best option because it is open-ended. It makes transparency easy and can be tracked; you know who is buying and can query the bids.”
The Vice Chairman of the faculty, Mr. Clement Osaghae, said auctioneering was a developed concept to raise funds globally, and that Nigeria could get huge benefits from the opportunities it offered.
“A painting was recently sold for $450m. In Nigeria, we have great artists and people who are thinking of how to dispose some assets but do not have the right professionals to help them market them and get value. Auctioneering is already well established in other countries. Apart from property, a lot of things are lying fallow that auctioneering can help to reach the market fast,” he said.
A member of the delegation, Mr. Kayode Ogunji, noted that auctioneering was not new but the way it was being practised in the country had not been organised.
He added that if organised, auctioneering could create a huge value not just for the government, but for citizens in possession of valuable assets.
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