By Funmi Emmanuel, Abuja.
Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, at the weekend said that Federal Government realised N669 billion from privatisation of its enterprises from 1999 to date.
Dikki made this known while delivering a lecture on “Federal Government’s Privatisation and Economic Reform Programme” at a forum organised by Just Friends Club of Nigeria in Abuja.
He said that the amount was proceeds from 122 enterprises privatised from 1999 to 2012 and revenue generated from the privatisation of the power sector in 2013.
He disclosed that 2.5 billion dollars (about 417.5 billion) was realised from payments made by “preferred bidders of 15 out of the 18 successor companies of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN)”.
He said that N251.5 billion was realised as gross proceeds from the privatisation of the 122 enterprises, adding that N147 billion was remitted to the Privatisation Proceeds Account at the Central Bank of Nigeria as net profit.
Dikki added that N384 billion was spent on settling labour liabilities in the power sector before the companies were handed over to the new investors on Nov. 1, 2013.
He stated that 66 per cent of the privatised enterprises were performing well while 34 per cent was not doing well.
He said that the process of unbundling the Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company and Afam Generation Company, which was unsuccessful during the first sale, was currently nearing completion.
The director-general said that although BPE was known mainly for its privatisation activities, it had begun the handling of reforms in different sectors of the economy.
He cited the reform in the telecommunication sector, which he said had created lots of jobs and generated huge revenue for the government, as one of the reforms it handled.
“The establishment of the Debt Management Office (DMO) was one of the outcomes of the reform works of the bureau. Before its creation, there was nobody to monitor government borrowing,’’ he explained.
Dikki said that BPE was currently pushing for the passage of seven bills which would open up the Nigerian economy “for healthy businesses to strive”.
On its initiatives, he expressed the hope that refineries would be privatised pending the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill.
“The government is intent on privatising the refineries because of the impact it will have in growing the Nigerian economy.
“Right now, Element Petroleum, an oil firm, requires the by-product of refineries to produce its own product. But it doesn’t have enough supply because the refineries are not operating at levels of expectations.
“So, if we can privatise the sector, many private individuals will be able to open more refineries in the country and this will translate to added jobs,” he said.
He hinted that Pipelines and Product Marketing Company and the Nigerian Gas Company would be privatised.
In his remarks, the President, Just Friends of Nigeria Club, Mr Green Amakwe, said that the club chose Dikki for the lecture due to his success in dealing with investors.
“BPE is now seen as a government agency that plays by the rules of due process, accountability and a high degree of transparency and international best practices in its dealings.
“This enviable achievement has made it incumbent on us to honour the BPE by nominating its director-general to deliver our inaugural lecture on their success story,” he said.