Friday, 24 February 2012

Nigeria to represent privatisation bills for passage-Thisday reports

The Federal Government of Nigeria is putting finishing touches on all bills meant to refocus the privatisation process with a view to presenting them to the National Assembly for passage into law and implementation.
This was disclosed Thursday by Chairman of National Council on Privatisation, Vice-President Namadi Sambo.
This is as the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation, Hon. Khadija Abba-Ibrahim, noted that Nigerian Telecommunications Limited. (NITEL) was having problems with being privatised, a situation made worse by the fact that it was owing a debt of N250 billion in addition to staff salaries while Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) which had already been privatised is facing difficulties such as outstanding salary issues.
Sambo explained that the essence of getting the privatisation process right was to enable them meet the objectives of the privatisation policy which is aimed at creating wealth and jobs for Nigerians, and stressed the need for cooperation between the executive and the legislature.
He listed bills to be re-presented for passage into law as the Railway Bill meant to fast-track the development of the rail transport sector, the Power sector privatisation and that of NITEL.
Abba-Ibrahim stated that the committee had already concluded plans to embark on a phased oversight visit of Privatised Enterprises across the country starting from March 5.
She stated that they were eagerly waiting on the arrival of the proposed reform Bills which are critical to the Transformation Agenda, promising to give the bills accelerated consideration.
Abba Ibrahim pledged that they would however do all within their powers to solve the problems and ensure the desired results, adding that since the privatisation of the Ajaokuta Steel Company has been revoked, it will be put up for sale in their efforts to ensure that the country gets it right this time.
"In privatisation, it is a bit of give and take, government has to play its own role in making sure that the privatisation exercise in this country works, so we are there to ensure that government plays its role in making sure that the privatisation exercise is a success. So it is not as if the privatised companies are not doing their own part in trying to see this work. It is not an easy process, some of them have done very well, some of them have not done really well and some of them just need to heal or closed.
"Basically in the forefront of things we have NITEL, we are all worried about what is going to happen, it is indebted, I mean there is so much debt in NITEL, whoever is going to buy NITEL will have a lot to deal with. It is indebted to the tune of about N250 billion so I mean you are talking about a lot of money and there are a lot of salaries and wages that haven't been paid to staff.
"Also on ALSCON, Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria in Ikot Abasi, the same thing, there is a lot of staff liability to be taken care of and other aspects that either the government did not idea to or the privatised companies so there are so many things that need to be put together and we have agreed that from time to time we will liaise with the Executive arm, that is the NCP to see that it becomes a success", she said.
She said they have scheduled to tour privatised concerns as part of their oversight functions and would thereafter be well abreast of their current states and what to do to solve their problems for best results.

Source: Thisday Newspaper-February 24, 2012

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