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Pension reserve hits all time high, now N3trn – BPE boss

By EMMANUEL ELEBEKE

The Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE,  Mr. Benjamin Dikki, says the National Pension reserve has reached an all time mark of N3 trillion as at July 10th, 2013. Dikki disclosed this when the Senate Committee on Bureau of Public Enterprise visited him in Abuja, as part of its constitutional oversight functions.

The BPE boss said the feat was made possible through the institutional reforms introduced by the agency into the sector and solicited for mutual corporation and understanding by the lawmakers in the passage of its proposed bills for the reform of the Railway, Inland waterways, Postal bills as well as Harbour Reform Bill among others, which are currently pending in the house.

He explained that the Bureau has succeeded by achieving over 50 per cent of its set targets by successfully unbundling of PHCN, saying that the transaction documents which are preparatory to the handover of five power generating companies, GENCO and 10 distribution companies, DISCO to the successful bidders.

With the completion of the proposed hand over of the GENCOs and DISCOs by the second quarter of 2014, he assured that power supply would be stabilised.

Other achievements of BPE, according to him, include:  the payment of 25 per cent share price of the unbundled PHCN companies by the successful bidders, as well as the payment of the outstanding 75 per cent of the share purchase price.

The BPE boss also stressed the need for a clear separation of the regulatory powers in the draft copy of the petroleum industry bill, PIB, and other relevant bills.

This he said would ensure a clearly map out the functions of the various stakeholders in a particular sector, thus, leading to an efficient and effective result.

Dikki , who assured of constant power supply after the formal hand over of the privatised PHCN units in the second quarter of 2014.

‘‘At the completion of the ongoing NIPP projects and subsequent taking over of the power stations by the successful bidders, the power generation will be boosted by 5000 mega watts which will lead to a stable power supply that Nigerians are clamouring for,’’ he said.

The Senate committee led by its chairman, Senator Olugbenga Obadara, though commended the agency for its achievements in privatizing some moribund government parastatls, knocked federal government for enlisting NITEL as agencies due for sale.

Obadara said the plan to sell NITEL would be counter productive to the economy, in view of the fact that NITEL remains an immeasurable asset to the country   and  has all it takes to achieve the proposed broadband services needed for an improved information and communication technology in Nigeria ICT.

The Senate leader maintained that NITEL is one of the greatest value of Nigeria, as it enjoys high frequency control and right of way, as well as the Sat 3, which is the bedrock that could fast-track broadband service across the country.

‘‘The greatest value of NITEL is the frequency that controls the right of way and Sat3, which can offer the much needed broadband services,’’ he said.

Senator Obadara, who commended the BPE for  raising funds in excess of N3 trillion from the ongoing pension reform,  warned the management of BPE  not to allow what he called ‘brief case investors’ into economy, but  seek partnership in the areas of legislative and technical advice to ensure an encompassing views and beneficial investors.

Also speaking, another member of the committee, Senator Barnabas Gemade commended BPE for its giant stride in pension reform and charged the agency to ensure prudence and transparency in pension administration to avoid continuous embezzling of pension funds. He also called for further reforms in the sector, to create enabling environment for proper utilization of the proceeds in the interest of both pensioners and the economy in general.


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