Confab: Delegates seek legal framework for privatisation of public assets




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ABUJA – Delegates at the National Conference on Thursday called for a recommendation of a legal framework that would guide privatisation of public assets in the country.

Some of the delegates made the call while contributing to the deliberation on the report of its committee on Economy, Trade and Investment.

Dr Magdalene Dura, representing Benue condemned the way privatisation was being done in the country.

She said that privatisation was always being done in a hurry, adding that “is not the best’’.

“I wish to say that the way privatisations exercises are being carried out in Nigeria do not always follow due process.

“We do not follow legal framework for privatisation in Nigeria, we are always putting the cat before the horse.

“There is no law enabling us to privatise, except the

National Council for Privatisation and Bureau for Public Enterprises Act, which are not legal instrument for privatisation.

“At this juncture, I wish to recommend that we need to have a legal framework for privatisation.

“This legal framework will have all the legal provisions to protect and provide those conditions that a company needs to meet before privatisations,’’ Dura said.

She identified capacity to deliver as one of the key conditions for privatisation, adding that this had proven not to be useful in the country.

“Most groups or companies that had bought over the nations’ companies, has no capacity for delivery and this is greatly affecting the country.

“I therefore called on the government to revisit the whole privatisation exercise.

“Where anyone was found not to have met or carried out the conditions, the whole exercise should be re-investigated,’’ Dura said.

Another delegate, Princess Rabi Ibrahim, faulted the country’s privatisation processes, saying it should be done in a transparent manner with international best practice.

Ibrahim cited the privatisation of the NICON Insurance as an example, saying that the process was faulty.

“I was an AGM in NICON Insurance by the time it was being sold. The company had millions of pounds in their London account, millions of dollars in their U.S. account.

“It also had housing estates all over the states of the federation and we have big office at Marina, Lagos as well as the NICON house in Abuja.

“If you put all these assets together, you will see that it is hundred times the price which NICON was sold to Mr Jimoh Ibrahim,’’ she said.

Ibrahim said in privatising any company, there was need to look at its assets and liabilities.

“We must ensure that people working there do not become a liability, where nobody will pay their pension and salaries.

“ NICON insurance that used to be the toast of the country, go there today, it is as good as dead,’’ she added. (NAN)