Uche Usim; Adewale Sanyaolu
The Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, has raised the alarm that about 37 percent of privatised firms are non- performing.
Okoh, stated this when he received members of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation, led by its Chairman, Alhaji Ahmed Yerima, who were on an oversight visit to BPE. According to him, 63 percent of the privatised entities are doing well.
The Director General attributed the poor performances of some of the enterprises to the operating business environment in the country in which many private or privatised public enterprises have either closed down or relocated to neighbouring countries.
On how to turn the non- performing assets to profitable entities, the BPE helmsman informed the lawmakers that the Bureau had commenced a thorough review of the non-performing enterprises to ascertain the issues affecting them.
He listed the new initiatives embarked upon by the Bureau to include; the Afam Power & Yola Distribution Company privatisation, concessioning of the Terminal B of the Warri old Port, restructuring and commercialisation of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), partial commercialisation of NIPOST, restructuring and commercialisation of the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs), reform and commercialisation of three of the nation’s national parks and other initiatives in the power sector.
Out of the 142 privatised enterprises, 63 were through core investor sale, nine through guided liquidation, one through sale to existing shareholders, five through public offer and two, through liquidation.
He further explained that eight of the firms were privatised through private placement, 41 through concession, two through debt/equity swap and 11 through sale of assets.
The BPE boss said out of the number, 94 enterprises have been monitored while the rest have not because some were either assets sale in the first phase of privatisation and as such did not fall within the BPE’s monitoring purview.
Given a further break down of the enterprises on sectoral basis, Okoh said, five were in the agric machanisation,eight in automobiles, seven in banking and insurance, six in brick making and the cement sector.
He listed others to include; 10 in energy construction and services,12 in hotels and tourism, eight in oil and gas, four in paper and packaging, 19 in solid minerals and mining, 7 in steel and aluminum, four in the sugar sector, 26 in marine transport sector, 19 in power and one in telecoms.
Earlier, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation, Alhaji Ahmed Yerima, had said that the Committee was at the Bureau to have first hand information on its activities; and to ascertain its compliance with the provisions of the 2017 Appropriation Act in line with the resolution of the House that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) complied with the Act.
The Chairman assured that the Committee would use it legislative powers to ensure that BPE’s mandate is not usurped by MDAs; noting that any attempt in that direction was an infraction on the constitution of the country.