By Etuka Sunday
The Senate Committee on Privatisation has called for the review of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) budgeting structure to reflect cost of transactions.
The Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi made this known during the BPE’s 2019 budget presentation at the National Assembly, Abuja on Monday, April 1, 2019.
He noted that since the funds generated by the Bureau annually are remitted wholly into the Federal Government’s coffers, the government should adequately fund the Bureau’s activities in general and the cost of the transactions which generate the revenue in particular.
The Vice Chairman said that President Muhammad Buhari was determined to leave a lasting legacy in the economic development of the country through the power sector.
He explained that reviewing BPE’s budgeting structure to ensure that provisions for transaction costs are made in the Bureau’s budget would ensure a more efficient privatisation process to reflect the President’s economic plans.
Abdullahi pledged the Committee’s unwavering support to the success of privatisation in the country, stressing that achieving the President’s economic plans required a joint effort between the Committee and the Bureau.
Consequently, he advised the Privatisation and Reforms agency to present before the Committee, an outline of the cost of transactions billed for 2019 for onward review with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
Earlier, the Director General of the BPE, Mr. Alex A. Okoh acknowledged the Committee’s support which in the last four years, led to the successes recorded in the privatisation and economic development of the country.
He informed the Committee that for the 2109 fiscal year, the Bureau plans to carry out transactions in the power sector and these include; the re-privatisation of Yola Electricity Distribution Company, privatisation of Afam Electricity Generation Company (Afam Power Plc & Afam Three Fast Power Limited) and National Integrated Power Plants (NIPPs) for which an improved budget would ensure seamless transactions and greatly impact on the performance of the Bureau’s mandate.
The Head, Public Communications, BPE, Amina Tukur Othman in a statement quoted Okoh to have lamented the disproportion between funds released and amount budgeted and the attendant draw backs on the mandate of the Bureau.
According to him; “in 2018, N2, 009 billion was allocated to the Bureau but only N1, 3191 billion was released”. Most of which was for recurrent personal expenditure.
On internally generated revenue, the BPE boss stated that the Bureau remits 100% of what it generates into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR) and it does not retain any proceeds.
He maintained that the enhancement in BPE’s budget would not only increase contributions to the nation’s treasury, it would also boost economic development through privatisation.