THE federal government has made more than N669 billion from privatising public enterprises between 1999and now. Benjamin Dikki, director-general, Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE, said the amount was from the 122 enterprises it had privatised from 1999 to 2012, as well as the money so far generated from the privatisation of the power sector in 2013.
Dikki made the statement while delivering a lecture on the federal government’s privatisation and economic reform programme at the annual lecture of “Just Friends Club of Nigeria’’ in Abuja. He said, “The sum of N251.5 billion was realised as gross proceeds and over N147 billion net profit was remitted to the Privatisation Proceeds Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. Sixty-six percent of the privatised enterprises are performing well as against 34 percent that are not doing well. The preferred bidders for 15 out of the 18 successor companies of PHCN have paid their full bid prices amounting to approximately $2.5 billion (N417.5 billion). Meanwhile, N384 billion was used in settling labour liabilities in the sector before the companies were handed over to the new core investors on November 1, 2013.”
According to him, the process of unbundling the Kaduna Electricity Distribution and Afam Generation Companies, which were unsuccessful during the first sale, were now nearing completion. The BPE boss said that although the bureau was known mostly for its privatisation activities, it had, however, embarked on so many notable reforms in different sectors of the economy.
He cited the reform in the telecommunication sector, which has created thousands of jobs, with over 123 million telephone lines and generated lots of money into the coffers of the governments and the public. “With the establishment of Pension Commission, PenCom, and the entrenchment of a stable pension policy in Nigeria, retirees are now guaranteed payment on retirement. The establishment of 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 said.
Dikki also remarked that at the moment, the bureau was initiating the passage of seven critical bills, which would open up the Nigerian economy for healthy businesses to strive.
War Against Gas Pipeline Vandals
THE federal government has vowed to fight gas pipeline vandals who have made the supply of gas to power generation companies very difficult. It described the vandals as terrorists, adding that their activities had impacted negatively on the quest by the government to realise its target of uninterrupted power supply to Nigerians in the shortest possible time.
Mohammed Wakil, minister of state for power, said on Tuesday, July 1, that the two problems of lack of gas and pipelines vandalism were demeaning the government’s efforts of ensuring stable electricity. The minister expressed federal government’s worries while playing host to a delegation from the National Orientation Agency at the headquarters of the federal ministry of power.
“We are going to fight until we are victorious. We must deliver so that the dream of Mr. President’s transformation agenda for power is achieved. In order to underscore the seriousness of vandalism, I had, in times past, referred to it as ‘infrastructural terrorism.’ We have already done a pilot model in a community in Kogi State, where we launched Operation Save Power Infrastructure that effort was very successful,” he said.
Wakil urged Mike Omeri, director-general, NOA, to use his expertise and leadership to address the issue of vandalism of power infrastructure in Nigeria. “The NOA should assist in sensitising citizens to own these infrastructure built by government in their communities as it is their responsibility to do so.”
He told the delegation that the ministry had been working tirelessly with the Civil Defence Corps and noted that the partnership with the NOA would lead to a tripartite arrangement. Earlier in his address, Omeri had informed the minister that his visit was to consummate a partnership that would help in the fight against vandalism of power infrastructure.
Making Gas as Cooking Fuel
THE National Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers, NALPGAM, has appealed to the federal government to initiate sustainable polices that will boost the use of gas as cooking fuel in Nigeria. Basil Ogbuanu, President, NALPGAM, said the appeal was based on the premise that apart from gas being environment-friendly, the expectation is that it would generate more funds for the development of the Nigerian economy.
Ogbuanu said that government policy and the dearth of cylinders for the storage and usage of gas were some of the challenges confronting the group in the quest for making gas the energy for the future. According to him, “a situation where only 15 million cylinders are available in Nigeria with a population of over 160 million people is an impediment to the use of domestic gas as cooking fuel in the country.”
He, however, noted that succour was coming the way of the gas marketers, as a manufacturing firm located at Berger area of Lagos, has commenced the production of cylinder as a result of which the price of cylinder has crashed from N10,000 to N7000. Speaking on how to harmonise operations and make gas available to consumers, he said that the group had given its members, one year to upgrade their gas dispensing plants as part of the agenda of bringing gas to the doorsteps of the consumers nationwide. “Before now, cylinders in different sizes were very scarce, but now they are readily available in 5 and 6 kg,” he said.
Ogbuanu also attributed the surge in gas usage to massive investment in gas projects by Nigerians. “In 2011, we had about 250 gas plants, but today there are about 400 gas plants in the country. In Lagos alone, we had 15 plants, but today there are over 80 gas plants, which serve as both storage facilities and selling points to end users. We also have about 4000 metric capacity for Lagos alone. In Enugu, we have 17 plants; in Umuahia, we have four gas plants at various stages of completion. By the end of the year, we will have about five plants in Abia State. In Ebonyi, there are over seven plants as we are expanding and having new entrants to the sector.”
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Jul. 14, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT