Uche Usim, Abuja
Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on Wednesday said it has so far completed transactions on 234 enterprises since the inception of the Federal Government’s privatisation programme in 1999.
It further disclosed that plans were afoot to divest from the 10 new gas-fired National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) upon completion
The Director-General of BPE Mr. Alex Okoh, made the disclosures recently at the Nigerian Investment Showcase at Guildhall, London, with the theme: “Public Sector Deals Recently”.
A BPE statement said Okoh listed the milestones recorded by the privatisation programme to include; expanding private sector participation in the Nigerian economy, attracting quality foreign investors and capital; achieving a more efficient allocation of government resources by redirecting funding of public enterprises by government to other key sectors of the economy that are socially imperative including healthcare, education; and encouraging the private sector as engine room of economic growth and development.
Okoh said the reform and privatisation programme of the Federal Government has impacted positively on some key sectors like telecoms, pension and seaports.
The telecoms sector, he said, has achieved almost 100 per cent teledensity with over 192 million connected lines while over 146 million lines have been active as at May 31, 2015 and over 40 telecoms licensed in the country.
He said reform in the sector has also brought about over a million direct and indirect jobs into the Nigerian economy while the ICT sub-sector has witnessed phenomenal growth.
On pension reforms, Okoh said that 6.2 million contributors were registered from 180,586 employers as at October 2012, while 55,904 retirees, currently receive their monthly pensions as and when due with the total value of pension industry assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme now at over N9 trillion.
For the seaports, the BPE boss said they now experience faster ship turn-round, quicker cargo turn-round and faster truck turn-round times, even as there was now increased competition, lower port charges, lower freight rates and net financial transfers to the government (lease fees, throughput fees and taxes).
On the Bureau’s 2019 work plan, he revealed it is expected to contribute N220.4 billion to the N8.91trillion 2019 Federal Government’s budget from its privatisation/commercialisation activities.
The funds are expected to come from some concluded transactions along with the privatisation of the Kano Free Trade and Calabar Free Trade Zones, Partial Commercialisation of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) and Partial commercialisation of three selected national parks in the country.