Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday said the federal government is implementing critical reforms and privatisation in key sectors of the economy to address the abysmal failure of public enterprises and halt the drain on the treasury.
He stated this yesterday during a Stakeholders’ Media Interactive Forum on the privatisation programme of the federal government.
The minister who is this Chairman of the Stakeholders’ Engagement
Committee of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), noted that despite the massive investments of about $100 billion in setting up these public enterprises, they have failed to live up to expectations.
He said the sector is consuming a large proportion of resources without providing commensurate returns or services.
‘’More importantly, they failed to allocate their resources efficiently, even as they consumed over $3 billion annually, by way of grants, subsidies, import duty waivers, tax exemptions, etc,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
According to him,there are ongoing reforms and privatization in various sectors of the economy, including Communications, Development Finance Institutions, the Nigerian Commodity Exchange, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Federal Housing Authority, National Parks and the River Basin Development Authorities.
The Power and the Postal sectors, Federal roads, Railways, National Inland Water Ways and a host of other enterprises are also slated for reforms and privatization.
The minister added that the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) had initiated and executed far-reaching reforms in the Communications, Pensions, Sea Ports, Debt Management, Solid Minerals as well as the Power sector reform that led to the unbundling and privatisation of the successor companies of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
“Some of these reforms led to the establishment of both regulatory and other agencies such as the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Pension Commission (PenCom), the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria Electricity Liabilities Management Company (NELMCO), and the Nigeria Electricity Bulk Trader (NBET),” he said.
He also explained that BPE has drafted eight reform bills that, when passed, will liberalise the relevant sectors and lead to the setting up of appropriate regulatory agencies to create the much-needed conducive and enabling environment for private sector investments.
He listed the bills as the Railway Bill; the Inland Waterways Bill; the Ports and Harbour Bill; the Federal Roads Authority Bill; the
National Roads Fund Bill; the National Transport Commission; the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill and the Postal Bill.
The minister sought the buy-in of the media for the reform and privatisation programme in order to assuage the mixed feelings the reform has generated as well as restore public confidence in the programme.
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