By Etuka Sunday
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce has said that in trying to address the challenges of the power sector, efforts must be made not to scare foreign investors.
Senator Bruce made the remarks when the Committee paid an oversight visit to the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in Abuja.
Said he: “We have been mandated to hold public hearing on the power sector. We are mindful of foreign investors and we are wary of scaring away foreign investors. However, we need to fix it.”
Privatisation, he said, should not only be a welcome intervention but should also create jobs. In addition, he said that privatisation should create wealth and build efficiencies.
Senator Murray-Bruce extolled the cordial relationship between the Senate Committee and the BPE, adding that the Committee is aware that the BPE is cash-strapped. “We need to fund you so that you can do your work,” he explained.
In his remarks, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Alex A. Okoh, said that the Bureau has commenced a thorough review of the non-performing enterprises to ascertain the issues affecting their performances.
He noted that the current initiatives of the BPE are poised to positively impact the economy in areas of power generation and supply, improvement in overall infrastructure, employment creation, food security and human capital development leading to overall economic growth.
Okoh added that the role of the Bureau is to assist in restructuring the public sector enterprises and services in a manner that will effect a new synergy between a leaner and more efficient government and a revitalized, efficient and service oriented private sector.
A statement by the Head, Public Communications, Chukwuma Nwokoh quoted the BPE boss to have explained that paucity of funds has caused serious setbacks to the attainment of some of the objectives of the BPE.
To Okoh, “the treasury of the Federal Government is becoming leaner in view of competing demands and dwindling government revenues.”
The BPE boss rued the lack of credible partnership with donor agencies. “This is very key to successful closure of transactions, as witnessed during the early days of the privatisation and commercialisation program between 1999 and 2003,” he pointed out.
On the Senate team were the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Abdullahi Yahaya and Senator Shaaba Lafiaji, a member of the Committee.