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…Tasks council on creative thinking
By Adewale Sanyaolu
No fewer than 142 public enterprises have been privatized since the inception of The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has said.
Osinbajo stated this during the inauguration of the Fifth Council of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP, pointing out that the inauguration of the NCP is a critical step in the process of putting in place part of the institutional framework necessary for the actualisation of the socio-economic agenda of the administration.
“It is also a demonstration of our administration’s commitment to public sector reform and the central role of the NCP in this process. Even though the public sector has been at the center stage in the provision of critical infrastructure and services cutting across the whole spectrum of the nation’s life since independence, the emerging importance and centrality of the private sector to the actualization of the economic agenda of the administration cannot be downplayed,” he said.
The Acting President stated that apart from playing a dominant role of generating employment opportunities, the intervention of the private sector enhances the process of industrialization, delivers critical infrastructure and services the country.
To him, this role can only be unleashed when government’s role of regulating and creating an enabling environment is robustly undertaken.
“This will in turn offer the private sector the required comfort and assurance to make investments and expect a reasonable return,” he said. He pledged the administration’s commitment to giving all the required support to the NCP in carrying out its statutory responsibilities.
“In return, the government expects the NCP to come up with creative out-of-the box solutions for addressing the numerous challenges facing the privatisation and commercialisation programme such as non-performance by some privatised enterprises and post-privatisation challenges facing some of the privatised enterprises,” he said.
The Government also expects the NCP to make measurable progress in respect of the outstanding transactions affecting some of the areas critical to the economic recovery of the nation. You must make deliberate and conscious efforts to learn from past experiences and guard against avoidable mistakes of the past,” he noted.
Osinbajo explained that over the years, the NCP had concluded significant transactions and carried out economic reform activities in key sectors of the economy such as telecommunications, pension management, ports, power.
“A mega reform process in the power sector is ongoing with ambitious expectations. Although there are numerous challenges trailing the process, the NCP is expected to critically analyse these challenges and come up with sustainable solutions as part of government commitment to make power available at accelerated rates and to wide sections of the populace,”
In his remarks, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex A. Okoh, noted that recently a trend has emerged where certain institutions engage in activities which are tending to compromise and conflict with the statutory functions of the Bureau.
“We believe that regulatory agencies and commissions should manage regulatory compliance and not get involved in process as transactions managers or operators as this will clearly create confusion and possible conflict.
The Bureau of Public Enterprises operates as transaction managers and we shall submit our processes to the supervision of the relevant regulatory agency responsible for the particular transaction track we pursue to execute our mandate of enterprise reformation, including the SEC and the ICRC.”
Members of the NCP which is chaired by the acting President are Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance, as Vice Chairman; Mallam Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Attorney General of the Federation; Mr. Okechukwu Enelamah, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; and Senator Udo Udoma, Minister of National Planning. Others are Hajia Habibat Lawal, acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters; Mr. Ituah Ighodalo; Mr. Ghandi Olaoye; Senator A.A. Ibrahim; Dr. Bashir Gwandu; and Mr. Alex Okoh, Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (Member/Secretary.)