The Senate Committee on Privatisation has called on the Federal Government to enhance the budget of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), for efficient privatisation processes.
Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, made this call during the BPE’s 2019 budget defence at the National Assembly, on Monday in Abuja.
According to a statement by Mrs Amina Othman, Head, Public Communications, BPE, budgeting structure should be reviewed to reflect cost of transactions of the bureau.
Abdullahi said since the funds generated by the bureau are annually remitted wholly into the Federal Government’s coffers, the government should adequately fund activities of the bureau.
He also said that President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to leave a lasting legacy in the economic development of the country through the power sector.
“Reviewing BPE’s budgeting structure to ensure that provisions for transaction costs are made in the bureau’s budget will ensure a more efficient privatisation process to reflect the president’s economic plans.”
Abdullahi pledged the committee’s unwavering support to successful privatisation in the country, adding that achieving the president’s economic plans required joint effort between the committee and the bureau.
He, however, advised the agency to present before the committee, an outline of the cost of transactions billed for 2019 for onward review by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
In his presentation, Mr Alex Okoh, the Director-General of the BPE, acknowledged the committee’s support, which in the last four years had led to the successes recorded in the privatisation and economic development of the country.
He said that for the 2019 fiscal year, the bureau planned to carry out transactions in the power sector.
The transactions include the re-privatisation of Yola Electricity Distribution Company and privatisation of Afam Electricity Generation Company (Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Limited).
Also, privatisation of the National Integrated Power Plants (NIPPs) for which an improved budget would ensure seamless transactions and greatly impact on the performance of the agency’s mandate.
Okoh decried the disproportion between funds released and amount budgeted and the attendant draw backs on the mandate of the bureau.
“In 2018, N2.09 billion was allocated to the bureau but only N1.31 billion was released, most of which was for recurrent personnel expenditure.”
On internally generated revenue, the BPE DG said that the agency remitted 100 per cent of what it generated into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR) and does not retain any proceeds.
He added that the enhancement in BPE’s budget would not only increase contributions to the nation’s treasury, but would also boost economic development through privatisation.
The BPE was created through the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act 1999, to diversify the economy and strengthen the private sector as Nigeria’s engine of growth and economic driver.