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Reps, Fashola, NLC blame failed privatization for infrastructure decay

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.Most privatized public entities had disappeared -Minister

.As ICRC kicks against Asset Reform Bill

 

Jonas Ezieke, Abuja

Babatunde Raji Fashola, Works & Housing Minister

Speaker and members of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatization and Commercialization, the Minister of Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN and the President Nigeria Labour Congress NLC Mr Ayuba Wabba and other key stakeholders have blamed the failure of privatization and commercialization of public enterprises by governnent for infrastructural decay in Nigeria

 

This is as the Minister had noted that most privatized public enterprises privatized under the Privatization and Commercialization Act 1999 in Nigeria had surrepticiously desappeared into air.

 

The Chairman House Committee on Privatization and Commercialization Hon.Ibrahim Makama Misau and Minister sated this in their seperate remarks at the public hearing organized by the House Committee at the National Assembky.

 

The hearing is titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Public Enterprises Privatization and Commercialization 1999 Act Cap P38 LFN 2004 And Enact the Public Assets Reform Bill 2021 For Improved Efficiency and Management of Public Assets in Nigeria and For Related Matters’

 

Speaker of the House Hon.Femi Gbajabiamila who declared the hearing open said that the change we need in public enterprises calls for a legal framework that would maximize the value of existing assets.

 

Represented by the House Leader Hon.Ado Doguwa, the speaker said that that the stakeholders at the public hearing are capable of bring out positive outcome in the public sector with respect to public assets.

 

Also in remark, Chairman of the House Committee Hon. Ibrahim Misau said with a repeal of the Privatization and Commercialization Act 1999 that public deficit ‘ll be bridged with the enactement of a new law- the Public Assets Reform Bill.

 

The lawmaker noted that other countries are using public private patnership to deliver infastructural projects to their citizens.

 

He noted that ministries, departments and agencies of government ‘ll have opportunity to bridge the infrastructure gap in the country with speed.

 

Also in a presentation at the hearing, Minister of Works and Housing Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN said that once there is a private sector driven economy, there is need for strong regulation of private enterprises and activities.

 

He noted the key sectors of the economy such as banking, telecommunications and consumer goods production are in dire need of a strong legal and regulatory framework in Nigeria

 

He said: “I am not against privatization but the role of government in privatization is just policy”.

 

“I looked at the list of privatized entities and found out that most of them had disappeared.

 

“Where are the scanners after sixteen years of privatization”.

Other critical stakeholders at the hearing notably the Nigeria Labour Congress NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba said that privatization means taking resources from the poor fund government infrastructure.

 

The NLC said that privatization is against the provision of section 16 of the 1999 Constitution as amended that that states that the state must protect the economic interest of the citizenry.

 

Also in a memotandum presented at the hearing the Bureau of Public Enterprises Director General DG of the Bureau of Public Enterprises BPE Mr Alex Okoh said that it is not all public assets that need to ve privatized.

 

He added that those assets that slated for privatozation need to be guided by by legislation.

 

He however said that a total of 234 public enterprises had been revitalized through privatization and concessioning of these assets.

 

On his own part, Director-General DG of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission ICRC Mr Micheal Ohiare said that the enactment of the Asset Reform Bill in its present form ‘ll result in the repeal of the agency’s enabling Act.

 

Chairman of the House Committee Hon Misau and other committee members notably Hon. Ben Mzondu (Benue,PDP) assured these key stakeholders that the apex legislative institution would not pass any legislation that ‘ll take over the role of any government agency in Nigeria

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