The National Council on Privatization approves the privatization of Abuja Security and Commodities Exchange
| By Vincent Nzemeke | Jun. 10, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
BARRING any last minute hitch, the Abuja Security and Commodities Exchange ASCE, is to be privatised following the approval of the National Council on Privatisation NCP. To speed up the process, the council also set up a steering committee to be chaired by Olusegun Aganga, minister of Industry, Trade and Investments.
The setting up of the steering committee was a major highlight of the last meeting of the NCP on May 9, 2013 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Other members of the committee are Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the coordinating minister of the economy and minister of finance; and Ministers of national planning, Bukar Tijani, minister of agriculture & rural development, Sanusi Lamido, governor Central Bank of Nigeria among others. The committee was tasked with the responsibility of identifying the best options for resuscitating the Exchange.
A statement signed by Chigbo Anichebe, head of public communication, Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, said “the privatised ASCE would provide stable prices and a sure market for all agricultural produce locally and internationally as well as guarantee employment for millions of Nigerians and also provide raw materials for industrial production”.
The statement also observed that the ASCE had witnessed various operational challenges arising from inadequate equity base; impairment of shareholders’ funds arising from operating losses; lack of infrastructure like standardized silos and warehouses to store commodities and generate the warehouse receipts that could be traded on the Exchange. Other challenges are the absence of enabling laws to guide the operation of Warehousing Receipt System, WRS, and the lack of patronage by private organisations and relevant government agencies. However, after extensive deliberations the Council adopted a core investor privatization as the strategy for revitalising the Commodities Exchange.
On its part, the BPE, the organisation responsible for privatizing government owned agencies, has commenced work to ensure that the planned privatisation is fully implemented in a manner that meets the expectations of the federal government.
One of the strategies employed by the organisation is fast-tracking the passage of the WRS Bill. The WRS Bill was approved in 2010 by the Federal Executive Council and is aimed at identifying and harnessing storage facilities across the country to aid the operations of a privatised ASCE.
The statement also noted the import of engaging stakeholder-agencies and development partners in vital discussions on the necessary reform processes and strategy for the privatization of the Exchange.