Most Privatized public entities have disappeared – Fashola

………as agency kick against Asset Reform Bill

By Gift Chapi Odekina

The Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, President Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)Mr Ayuba Wabba and other key stakeholders have said that most privatized government entities have disappeared into tin air.

This is as they also blamed the failure of privatization and commercialization of public enterprises by government for infrastructural decay and unemployment in Nigeria.

Speaking at a public hearing organized by the house committee on privatization and commercialization, the Minister noted that most privatized public enterprises under the Privatization and Commercialization Act 1999 in Nigeria had disappeared into air.

The hearing which was titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Public Enterprises Privatization and Commercialization 1999 Act Cap P38 LFN 2004 And Enact the Public Assets Reform Bill 2021 For Improved Efficiency and Management of Public Assets in Nigeria and For Related Matters’

Speaking during his presentation at the hearing, Fashola said that once there is a private sector driven economy, there is need for strong regulation of private enterprises and activities.

He further noted the key sectors of the economy such as banking, telecommunications and consumer goods production are in dire need of a strong legal and regulatory framework in Nigeria

He said: “I am not against privatization but the role of givernment in privatization is just policy”.

“I looked at the list of privatized entities and found out that most of them had disappeared.

“Where are the scanners after sixteen years of privatization”.

Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila who declared the hearing open called for a legal framework that would maximize the value of existing assets.

Represented by the House Leader Rep. Ado Doguwa, the Speaker said that the stakeholders at the public hearing were capable of bring out positive outcome in the public sector with respect to public assets.

Speaking in his remark, Chairman of the Committee Rep. Ibrahim Misau said with a repeal of the Privatization and Commercialization Act 1999 that public deficit will be bridged with the enactment of a new law- the Public Assets Reform Bill.

The lawmaker noted that other countries were using public private partnerships to deliver infrastructural projects to their citizens.

He noted that ministries, departments and agencies of government ‘ll have opportunity to bridge the infrastructure gap in the country with speed.

Other critical stakeholders at the hearing notably the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba said that privatization means taking resources from the poor to fund government infrastructure.

He said that privatization is against the provision of section 16 of the 1999 Constitution as amended that that states that the state must protect the economic interest of the citizenry.

Also in a memorandum presented at the hearing, the Bureau of Public Enterprises Director General DG of the Bureau of Public Enterprises BPE Mr Alex Okoh said that it is not all public assets that need to be privatized.

He added that those assets that slated for privatization need to be guided by legislation.

He however said that a total of 234 public enterprises had been revitalized through privatization and concessioning of these assets.

On his own part, Director-General DG of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission ICRC Mr Micheal Ohiare said that the enactment of the Asset Reform Bill in its present form ‘ll result in the repeal of the agency’s enabling Act.

Chairman of the House Committee Hon Misau and other committee members notably Hon. Ben Mzondu (Benue,PDP) assured these key stakeholders that the apex legislative institution would not pass any legislation that ‘ll take over the role of any government agency in Nigeria.


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