Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, has decried the misconceptions on the Federal Government’s privatisation and Commercialisation programme, saying there must be deliberate efforts to correct the misconceptions.
Speaking at a one-day orientation programme for members of the stakeholders engagement committee (SEC) of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) in Abuja the minister said the that the onus was on members of the committee to correct the misconceptions.
According to him, members of the committee need to engage the media at every stage of key government projects and not to wait until the implementation stage of such programmes.
The minister said there was the need for town hall meetings with the Nigerian populace to educate them on the programme. He called for advocacy and enlightenment on the privatisation programme, adding that the programme was meant to add value to national assets but regrettably it was not the case for some privatised enterprises.
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Earlier, Alex A. Okoh, director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), had declared that the current initiatives embarked upon by the Bureau are aimed at positively impacting the Nigerian economy in areas of power generation and supply, improvement in overall infrastructure, job creation, food security and human capital development leading to the overall economic growth of the country.
He listed the initiatives as the privatisation of Afam Power Plant, concessioning of Terminal “B” Warri Old Port, restructuring & recapitalisation of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), partial commercialisation of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) and the restructuring/ commercialisation of three River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs).
The others are the partial commercialisation of three selected National Parks, re-privatisation of Yola Disco, power sector recovery initiative and development of data management framework for the power sector.
Okoh who made this known in a paper titled: The role of National Council on Privatisation (NCP) in the Privatisation Programme said that through the privatisation and commercialisation programme, the BPE has attained some broad milestones in the past 18 years.
He said notable amongst these are the expansion of private sector participation in the Nigerian economy, an attraction of quality foreign investors and capital. Others are achieving a more efficient allocation of government resources by redirecting funding of public enterprises by the government to other key sectors of the economy that are socially imperative such as healthcare and education among others and encouraging the private sector to be the engine room of economic growth and development.
The director general maintained that the execution of the mandate of the Bureau was being undermined by the non-cooperative attitude of some of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) who are a part of the privatisation programme and called for the intervention of the Stakeholders Engagement Committee (SEC) for the continued success of the execution of the mandate of the Bureau.
Okoh said paucity of funds was also an impediment to the attainment of some of the objectives of the BPE as “the treasury of the Federal Government is becoming leaner in view of competing demands and dwindling government revenues”.