From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The National Council on Privatisation (NCP), chaired by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has approved the commencement of the privatisation of Afam Power plants 1-5 to enable it inject additional power into the national grid in a bid to improve electricity supply nationwide.
The Council has also approved the pursuit of an out-of-court settlement in the case involving the privatisation of Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON), at its meetings of August 22 and 23, 2017. The Supreme Court had ruled against RUSAL Company which bought the ALSCON from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in 2004. RUSAL and BFIG submitted bids for ALSCON in 2004 when the company was privatised, BFIG won the bid but failed to meet the stipulated deadline for the payment of the mandatory 10 per cent of its total offer.
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) revoked the offer from the BFIG and gave it to RUSAL because it was able to pay the 10 per cent of its bid, but the BFIG headed to the court and the case went in its favour.
However, the RUSAL company also filed a counter case at a London Arbitration Court after losing the matter in Nigeria. The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen, said the directive for out of court settlement was in a bid to resolve the lingering dispute between the Federal Government, BFIG and United Company RUSAL through the mediation of the Secretariat with the active collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
Akande said the council advised that “the mediation efforts should take a holistic view of the entire sector and the overriding national interests to jumpstart industrial development through the steel sector in arriving at a resolution on the matter.”
He said the council at the meeting also reviewed the proposals presented by its Secretariat, the BPE for the reform and restructuring of various sectors of the economy.
Furthermore, the council approved the immediate revocation of the concession of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, and the immediate commencement of a fresh privatisation of Yola Electricity Distribution Company.
“These approvals, the council noted, were aimed at giving traction to key infrastructure facilities in the country that are presently under concessions, but have been adjudged to be performing sub-optimally.
“These decisions were taken during the meeting of the NCP, which is the highest decision making body on policies relating to the privatisation and commercialisation policies of the Federal Government, on August 22 and 23, 2017 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja,” the statement read.
Other key decisions taken by the council include the approval of the amendments to the Work Plan for the conclusion of the transaction involving the concessioning of Terminal “B” Warri Old Port; the restructuring and recapitalisation of Bank of Agriculture.
“The restructuring of the BOA is in alignment with the Government’s desire to make financing options readily available to farmers for an aggressive diversification of the Nigerian economy,” the council stated.
It further stated that it approved the immediate commencement of the reform and commercialisation of the River Basins Development Authorities to revitalise the irrigation and river basin potentials for agricultural purposes.
Similarly, to harness the nation’s untapped tourism potential, the council approved the partial commercialisation of the National Parks using three key national parks as pilot projects.