The Director General of the Bureau of Public enwterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, has said the Agency has commenced the review of non-performing privatised public enterprises to ascertain the issues affecting their ability to deliver on targets.
Speaking at the weekend when the Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation led by its Chairman, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, Okoh noted that the current initiatives of the BPE are poised to positively impact the economy in areas of power generation and supply, improvement in overall infrastructure, employment creation, food security and human capital development leading to overall economic growth.
Okoh added that the role of the Bureau was to assist in restructuring the public sector enterprises and services in a manner that will effect a new synergy between a leaner and more efficient government and a revitalised, efficient and service oriented private sector.
He explained that paucity of funds had caused serious setbacks to the attainment of some of the objectives of the BPE.
“The Federal Government treasury is becoming leaner in view of competing demands and dwindling government revenues”, he said.
The BPE boss rued the lack of credible partnership with donor agencies. “This is very key to successful closure of transactions, as witnessed during the early days of the privatisation and commercialisation program between 1999 and 2003,” he pointed out.
In his remarks, Senator Murray-Bruce, said a public hearing on the power sector was in the works, but warned that in trying to address the challenges of the sector, efforts must be made not to scare foreign investors.
Said he: “We have been mandated to hold public hearing on the power sector. We are mindful of foreign investors and we are wary of scaring away foreign investors. However, we need to fix it.”
Privatisation, he said, should not only be a welcome intervention but should also create jobs. In addition, he said that privatisation should create wealth and build efficiencies.
The Committee Chairman also hailed the cordial relationship between the Senate and the BPE, adding that the Committee was aware that the BPE is cash-strapped.
“We need to fund you so that you can do your work,” he explained.
On the Senate team were the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya and Senator Shaaba Lafiaji, a member of the Committee.