Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex A. Okoh has allayed fears of perceived usurpation of regulatory powers by the Bureau in the concession of public assets in the country.
Okoh who made this known in Abuja on Monday, October 25, 2021, at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation of Government Assets against the backdrop of fears expressed by the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission(ICRC) that the proposed amendment of the BPE Privatisation and Commercialisation Act 2004 to establish the Public Asset Reform Bill 2021was aimed at giving the BPE regulatory powers and whittling down the powers of the ICRC, emphatically said that the proposed Bill is only to improve efficiency and management of public assets in Nigeria.
The Director General maintained that the Bureau has never interfered in the regulatory powers of other sister agencies like the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission(NERC),National Communications Commission (NCC) and Pension Commission of Nigeria(PENCOM); and will not interfere in the regulatory functions of ICRC but collaborate with all regulatory agencies in the country in the discharge of its mandate.
Okoh stated that the footprints of the BPE’s reform activities were indelible on the Nigerian Economy, generating about N1 Trillion in the process and creating significant savings which otherwise would have been expended as subventions to subsidise sub optimal government enterprises.
He expressed the urgent need to pass the proposed Public Assets Reform Bill 2021to help unlock the much needed investments from the Private sector capable of bridging the infrastructure need of the country, stimulate economic growth, reduce the escalating debt burden and providing employment opportunities for unemployed Nigerian youth.
The BPE boss maintained that the Bill primarily seeks to: repeal the Public Enterprises (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act which has become obsolete with passage of time; Create a legislative instrument for the optimisation of stranded Assets of Government to unlock liquidity that will boost the dwindling revenues of the Federal Government; Creation of a National Assets Register which may be published annually to address the current infrastructure deficit in the county as well as enhance the capacity of the Bureau and the relevant committees of the National Assembly to carry out statutory legislative responsibilities of overseeing all assets of the nation.
Further, he stated that the Bill would enable the Bureau and the Federal Government to confront the present as well as future challenges of the country responsibly and responsively, given the fast-paced and ever-changing economic climate.
The Public Hearing was attended by top government officials, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Amina Tukur Othman
Head, Public Communications
October 27, 2021.