BPE yet to resolve ALSCON, Zuma Steel, 39 other firm’s privatization issues, says DG

The BPE says it will privatise the Bank of Industry (BOI), the Bank of Agriculture (BOI) and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FNBN) and others.

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) on Thursday said it was yet to sort out controversies and issues that arose from the privatization of 41 of the 122 enterprises sold between 1999 and 2012.
Director General of the privatization agency, Benjamin Dikki, told a team from the Standards and Poor and Fitch Rating Agencies, which visited him in his office in Abuja, that 66 percent (or 80) of the privatized enterprises were doing well, while 34 percent (or 41) others were still having issues to be sorted out.
The case instituted by BFIGroup against the BPE and UC RUSAL for refusing to comply with the July 6, 2012 ruling of the Supreme Court reinstating the Nigerian-American consortium, which emerged winner of the bid for the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) in 2004, but was disqualified in controversial circumstances, would come up next week.
Despite reports of massive vandalism at the plant and the inability of UC RUSAL to reactivate and run the plant effectively, critics say BPE has refused to follow due process and reinstate the winner of the bid, more than nine years later.

The privatization of the Zuma Steel, formerly Jos Steel Rolling Mill, to Zuma Steel West Africa Limited, owned by Innocent Ezuma, has followed a similar pattern of uncertainty, as the reactivation and operation of the plant have been stalled for more than eight years since it was taken over.

At the public hearing by members of the House of Representatives Committee on Steel Development in 2010, following a petition by the Ukrainian co-investors, members accused Mr. Ezuma of frustrating the post-privatization plan submitted to the BPE.

Mr. Dikki, who said the team, led by Richard Fox, was at the Bureau in continuation of this year’s Nigeria sovereign rating exercise, said out of about N251.5billion generated from the privatization exercise, N147billion was remitted to the Privatisation Proceeds Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The DG said government was trying to create the environment that would allow private sector investments in infrastructure through institution of sound policies, liberalization and delineation of the roles of the parties, appropriate legal and regulatory framework, mitigation of risks and introduction of independent economic  regulators limiting government to policy formulation, planning and technical regulation, among others.

Mr. Dikki said the Bureau had championed several reforms in the Nigerian economy, including the Pension Reform Act 2004, which led to the establishment of the National Pension Commission (NPC); the entrenchment of a stable pension policy in Nigeria and the emergence of several Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs); Cross debt resolution, leading to the establishment of Debt Management Office (DMO), and Ports and Harbour Authorities Bill, which proposes to repeal the Nigerian ports Authority Act No. 38, 1999.

The DG, who was represented by the Head, Strategic Planning, Osauzo Obaro, said the Bureau was working towards the commercialization of the country’s 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs), the seven national parks, the three Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), including the Bank of Industry (BOI), Bank of Agriculture (BOI) and the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FNBN) and the Federal Housing Authority.



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