By TORDUE SALEM
THE House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, yesterday declared the 90 percent privatisation of the Federal Superphosphate Fertilizer Company Limited, Kaduna by the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE) illegal.
The lawmakers who took turns to bash the BPE over the privatisation exercise, also held talks in closed doors with workers of the Company, its management and the BPE over the need to withdraw suits pending in law courts over a 10 per cent that was supposed to be paid workers in the wake of exercise.
The acting chairman of the committee, Abass Braimah (Edo/PDP), members of the Committee Leo Ogor, Patrick Obahiagbon (PDP Edo) and others took turns to criticise the arbitrary privatisation exercises so far carried out by the BPE, where they have shown utter disregard for provisions in the privatisation Act. â€œAs a House and a Committee we are guided by the Constitution and the Privatisation Act.
We need clarification from BPE on why it decided to privatise this company 90 percent. Most of the privatisation problems today are caused by the BPE and that is the truth and we must say so.
The Privatisation Act says BPE should privatise any company by 51 per cent and you are privatising 90 per cent to 100 per cent, and that is a big problem. We must do what the law says. If the law says 51 per cent, we must not privatise 52 per cent.
If you wanted some allowances on privatisation, you should have come to us (lawmakers) to give you the powersâ€, the chairman of the Committee said. The fertilizer Plant was acquired by Heiko Consortium in an open bid process for N700million on October 21, 2005. The acquisition was distributed between Heiko Nigeria Limited 26 per cent, Image Kraft Ltd, 25 per cent, Allwell Petroleum Ltd 20 per cent, Chemtrac Nig. Ltd ,15 per cent, Al-kay Nig. Ltd, nine per cent and Abdul M.Kanti, five per cent.
But the Committee was told that the workers of the plant who were laid off post sale of the fertiliser plant, were to be paid 10 per cent of the transaction sum as compensation.
The Senior Staff Association of Federal Superphosphate Fertilzer Company Limited (FSFC) (Now Privatised) in 25-page petition entitled â€œIn search of Justiceâ€, and signed on behalf the group by their lawyers, Messrs S.E. Mosugu & Company, the group told the Committee that the â€œthe 10% share was reserved for all workers (including the authors of this Memo) and kept in trust by the BPE. The BPE further informed the workers that staff terminal benefits and arrears would be paid from that moneyâ€