University don urges FG to review privatisation programme

The professor cited Ajaokuta Steel Company, Volkswagen of Nigeria, Daily Times of Nigeria, Delta Steel Company of Nigeria as some of the companies sold at less than their value.

Professor Taiwo Asoaolu

A university lecturer, Prof. Taiwo Asaolu, has told the Federal Government to re-examine its privatisation programme for the process to achieve set goals.

Asaolu, a professor of Management and Accounting at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, gave the advice while delivering an inaugural lecture on Sunday.

The topic of the lecture was ‘’Privatisation in Nigeria: Regulation, Deregulation, Corruption and the Way Forward’’.

The don said that the implementation of privatisation in Nigeria had encountered difficulties, due to a lack of due process and policy inconsistency.

He said that assets of some privatised enterprises were deliberately under-valued and that the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) did not play the role set by the council and the extent laws.

``For instance, the privatisation of the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria built at the cost of 3.3 bilion dollars but was transferred to Rusal, a Russian company at the cost of 250 million dollars.

``Only 130 million dollars of the said 250 million dollars has been paid leaving a balance of 120 million dollars.

``The BPE failed to exercise their oversight role on the privatisation process while the anti-corruption agencies blatantly refused to prosecute violators of the law,’’ Asaolu said.

Asaolu said that for any national privatisation exercise to be credible and honest it must be backed by appropriate technical valuation methodologies in order not to be regarded as dubious and questionable.

The don said that one of the advantages of privatisation was that it created job opportunities for the citizenry of the country but if not well manage it could lead to high rate of unemployment.

``Government has a role to play in providing strong and competent regulation, check corruption and non-accountability of the BPE.

``There have been allegations that portrayed the BPE as being wasteful and deficient in transparency and accountability.

``In 2007, for instance, it allegedly spent a whopping N56.1bilion out of N117.22billion it realised from a sale of public enterprises that year.

``The BPE compromised on due process in the sale of public enterprises.

``This clearly shows that something has gone wrong with the privatisation policy of the Federal Government which must be urgently reviewed,’’ Asaolu said.


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