36 privatisation and reform projects have been listed in the Bureau of Public Enterprises’ 2021 Workplan and about N493 billion net revenue is expected to be raked-in from them. The Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh, said this at a breakfast meeting with Finance Correspondents in Abuja.
Okoh explained that the energy department has nine projects; industries and communication department will undertake eight projects; development institutions and natural resources department has six; infrastructure and private sector partnership have four projects and the post-transition management department has nine.He gave an in-depth analysis and updates of ongoing projects carried over from 2020 and the progress so far.The BPE boss revealed that the privatisation of NIPOST has given birth to three new limited liability companies namely with 100 per cent government ownership but expected to run as a full private sector-led business. They are; NIPOST itself in charge of the stamps and EMS speed post, NIPOST Transport and Logistics Company, NIPOST Property Development Company and NIPOST Microfinance Bank.He added that the initial takeoff grant was being awaited while the companies will ultimately run by self-funding arrangement as designed.According to Okoh, the initial plan for the BPE was to have the four government-owned refineries privatised but the plan had to be yanked off its 2021 Workplan when the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) secured Federal Government’s nod to rehabilitate them instead.
Analysing the Ajaokuta steel complex Project, which has been prostrate for over four decades, the BPE boss said it is a complex issue, humongous litigation that was gradually being resolved.
“It’s a very tough issue. GINL is the original concessionaire of the place and we are close to resolving the litigation around it. Once done, we will take the next decision on it”, he said.
On why the privatisation of various government entities takes such a long time to complete, The Director General said; Privatisation is not a very popular idea. So, it’s natural for MDAs to push back and want to retain control of those assets. “Also there are labour challenges, opposition, bureaucracy, red tape and so on. All these slow down the entire process but we need to strategically liberalise the economy.”The D-G gave a list of entities to be privatised to include: Afam Power, Yola Disco (which is almost completed), Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria in Ikot-Abasi of Akwa Ibom State, Bank of Agriculture , as well as, the sale of Nigerian Minning Corporation’ Mineral House in Ikeja, Lagos.
Others according to him would include: Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, Tafawa Balewa Square, River Basin Development Authorities, as well as, the reform of the Housing sector under which the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria would be restructured, recapitalised and commercialised.