Privatisation, commercialisation frees up over $3bn-BPE
BPE Director-General, BPE, Alex Okoh

The Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, has said the privatisation and commercialisation process has freed up over three billion dollars consumed by Public Enterprises (PEs) annually in terms of subventions, waivers and unpaid taxes.

The Director-General, BPE, Alex Okoh, made the disclosure at the dinner/award night in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of reform, commercialisation and privatisation in Nigeria according to a statement signed by the Head, Public Communications, BPE, Amina Othman in Abuja on Thursday.

Okoh noted that the BPE, in executing of its mandate was reforming and privatising for the benefit of Nigeria’s economic recovery and the social wellbeing of the people, adding that through the reforms, the private sector has been positioned “to become the engine room of economic activities and infrastructural development, while government focuses on governance and creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.”

He reiterated that the programme was not designed to share the country’s national assets to a few rich people as is erroneously believed.

The statement quoted him as saying: “We are not replacing public monopolies with private monopolies. Rather, in our determination to be unyielding and uncompromising in the pursuit of the best interest of this country, we are removing the financial burden which these enterprises constitute on the public purse and releasing resources for the essential functions of government.

“This essentially is the mandate given to BPE, to pursue this vision, thereby contributing to the socio-economic development of Nigeria.”

The Director- General disclosed that a less known but equally important aspect of the BPE programme was the reform of sectors to provide the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive.

He said: “The bureau has initiated and executed far-reaching reforms in telecommunications, pensions, seaports, debt management and solid minerals.

“Most recently, it executed the power sector reform that led to the successful unbundling, privatisation and in some cases, concessioning of the successor companies created out of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria.

“It also consists of major infrastructure areas like roads, railways, airports, national inland waterways and the special economic or free-trade zones.”

He noted that the National Council on Privatisation, NCP, and the BPE were pursuing the current transactions with renewed vigour, confidence and in a more responsible manner, adding that the Bureau had a new vision for the future that was based on rediscovery and repositioning.

“This has put the bureau on a path of disciplined and responsible reform, an effective post-privatisation management regime and a pivot to addressing the infrastructural deficit by tackling the defective Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) framework currently in place in Nigeria.

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“We are well-equipped from our track record and robust processes to provide a one-stop-shop for prospective investors under a consistent, fair, equitable and transparent process.

“However, we can only achieve this expeditiously if the present ambiguities in coordination, governance and institutional framework for infrastructure development through PPP are addressed. This will give confidence to private investors in both the integrity of the process and protection of investments.

“This is the role we have set our minds on and we are determined to see it through with the support and collaboration of key stakeholders.”

Okoh thanked the Vice President Chairman of the NCP, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, for his guidance and support.

He also commended members of the NCP, its standing committees and Ministers, for their cooperation and direction which have made the remarkable achievements recorded possible.

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