The New Nigerian Development Company is owned by the northern states.
The Northern States’ Governors’ Forum (NSGF), on Monday advised the New Nigerian Development Company (NNDC) to sell 49 per cent of its equity to members of the public.
The Chairman of the forum and Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, made the recommendation on behalf of his colleagues in Kaduna.
He spoke at the opening ceremony of a three-day management retreat for workers of the company.
Mr. Aliyu explained that the poor performance of the NNDC has necessitated the need for some of its investments, such as the Arewa Hotels, to be sold off to the public.
“You may therefore find it expedient to work out the investment portfolios of each state and issue certificate appropriately, while at the same time proposing private placement of about 49 per cent for the consideration and approval of the governors,” he said.
The chairman noted that the company must evolve ways of refocusing and improving on its performance in order to survive.
“We should be concerned that after 56 years of operations, the NNDC is performing epileptically when similar companies in the other parts of the country have grown into gigantic business conglomerates.
“We must encourage and support the company to make private equity investments in Northern-based enterprises”, Mr. Aliyu said.
According to him, such a step would attract capable individuals with a view to re-capitalising same and realising revenue from divestments.
He said it would also enable NNDC, owned by the northern states, to “take strategic investment positions in public quoted companies whose operations are of economic relevance to the north”.
Mr. Aliyu also urged the company to invest in “the untapped potentials inherent in the northern region particularly in agriculture, education, mining and infrastructure”.
He charged the company to strengthen its human capital development programmes to enable it compete and negotiate favourably with international businesses and communities.
The NSGF chairman called on the participants to use the platform as an avenue to brainstorm and ensure that the company’s 5-year strategic plan bears fruit.
Also speaking at the occasion, Governor Mukhtar Yero of Kaduna state stressed the need for collaboration with the state for economic development and capacity building.
Mr. Yero was represented by his Deputy, Nuhu Bajoga.
The governor noted the challenges that had bedevilled the company, such as “pursuance of non-profitable projects, lack of viable plan to guide activities and other management oriented problems”.
Mr. Yero was, however, optimistic that the NNDC’s five-year strategic plan would aid in restructuring and enhancing the economy of the region.
The Group Managing Director of NNDC, Ahmed Muhammed said the retreat would enable participants to assess long term business assumptions and conduct traditional SWOT analysis.
He said the participants would also discuss issues on monitoring and evaluation of the plan.
Earlier in an address, The Chairman, Board of Directors of the company, Halidu Abubakar, challenged the northern governors to ensure strict and regular monitoring of the implementation of the proposed strategic plan.
Also, Philips Folunsho, Chairman, Nigeria Economic Summit Group stressed the need for the company’s management to imbibe positive attitudinal changes to achieve set goals.
Mr. Folunsho advised the company to summon a collective northern economic summit to enable it adopt new strategies of achieving its goals and improving on investments.