NCP privatised over 142 public enterprises since inception – Osinbajo

Yemi Osinbajo

Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo says the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has successfully concluded the privatisation and reform of more than 142 public enterprises since its inception.

Osinbajo said this in a statement signed by the Head, Public Communications, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Chukwumah Nwokoh in Abuja on Wednesday.

The acting President spoke at the inauguration of the Fifth Council of the NCP.

Osinbajo pointed out that the inauguration of the NCP was 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.’’

He said the public sector had been at the centre  stage in the provision of critical infrastructure and services cutting across the whole spectrum of the nation’s life since independence.

Osinbajo, however, said the emerging importance and centrality of the private sector to the actualisation of the economic agenda of the administration could not be downplayed.

He said that apart from playing a dominant role of generating employment opportunities, the intervention of the private sector enhances the process of industrialisation and delivers critical infrastructure and services in the country.

According to him, the 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 thereon,” he said.

He pledged the administration’s commitment to giving the required support to the NCP to carry out its statutory responsibilities.

The acting President said that in return, the government expects the NCP to come up with creative, out-of-the box solutions for addressing challenges of privatisation and commercialisation.

The challenges are non-performance by some privatised enterprises and post-privatisation challenges facing some of the privatised enterprises.

“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.”

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, and power among others.

He added that there was an ongoing mega reform process in the power sector 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.”

The statement quoted the Director-General, BPE, Mr Alex Okoh as saying “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 the process as transaction managers or operators, as this will clearly create confusion and possible conflict.

“The BPE 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.’’

He said this includes the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).

The NCP is chaired by Osinbajo and has Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the Minister of Finance as Vice Chairman and Okoh as Secretary.

Others members are the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, Mr Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, Minister of National Planning.

The rest include Mrs Habibat Lawal, acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu, Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters, Mr Ituah Ighodalo, Mr. Ghandi Olaoye, Sen. A.A. Ibrahim and Dr Bashir Gwandu.

The NCP is the apex body charged with the sole responsibility of formulating and approving policies on privatisation and commercialisation.

The council, inaugurated by Osinbajo is the fifth since the enactment of the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act 1999.