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Hard ease of doing business puts 52 out 142 privatised enterprises in limbo—BPE

Contrary to the claims of the federal government that ease of doing business in Nigeria is rising, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), has revealed that out of a total of 142 public enterprises that have been sold to private sector operators, 52, representing 37 per cent, are going under.

Director-General of BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh, made the revelation when the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation visited the agency in Abuja recently.

In a statement by the Head of Public Communications, Amina Othman, the Dg told the visiting lawmakers that currently, BPE is profiling the non-performing enterprises to ascertain the key disturbing issues in their businesses.

According to him, out of the privatised enterprises, 63 per cent were doing well, while the remaining were performing poorly.

However, he was quick to aver that the poor performance cannot be unconnected with the operating business environment in the country which had been harsh for many businesses.

He added that the harsh operating environment had forced many private and privatised public enterprises to either close down or relocate to neighbouring countries.

Additional figures he rolled out showed that out of the 142 privatised enterprises, 94 had been monitored, while the rest had not because some were privatised through either assets sale or in the first phase of privatisation, and as such, did not fall within the BPE’s monitoring purview.

Okoh disclosed that out of the 142 privatised enterprises, 63 were through core investor sale; nine through guided liquidation; one through sale to existing shareholders; five through public offers; and two through liquidation.

Also, eight were privatised through private placement; 41 through concession; two through debt/equity swap; and 11 through sale of assets.

Okoh stated that five were in agricultural mechanisation; eight in automobiles; seven in banking and insurance; six in brick making; and six in the cement sector.

Others, according to the listing, were 10 in energy, construction and services; 12 in hotels and tourism; eight in oil and gas; four in paper and packaging; 19 in solid minerals and mining; seven in steel and aluminium; four in the sugar sector; 26 in marine transport sector; 19 in power; and one in telecoms.