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Privatisation earns Nigeria $1.6bn

Aug 14 2011 15:38 AFP

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Abuja - Nigeria has earned 249.5 billion naira ($1.6bn) from the privatisation of state-run agencies since the nation returned to democracy in 1999, new official figures show.

"The gross proceeds from the direct sale of public enterprises between 1999 to date is 249 497 188 000 naira," the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said.

The figure was presented at the senate-organised public hearing on the activities of the BPE, an agency under the Nigerian presidency, it said on Saturday.

The government of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo launched the privatisation programme under which some ailing and non-performing or mismanaged government agencies were privatised to enhance their efficiency and profitability.

The steel, cement, sugar and fertiliser agencies as well as mortgage banks are among the government arms that have been privatised.

But allegations of mismanagement of the revenues from the exercise and the underperformance of some of the privatised companies have triggered public outcry and the senate decision to set up its committee to look into the BPE's books.

The body was also accused of selling off some of some operations at below their established values.

BPE officials appeared before the committee last week to answer questions on the management of the agency.

"For the avoidance of doubt, we would like to reconfirm to the Nigerian people that all privatisation proceeds from inception are fully accounted for and the records are open for all," the BPE statement said.

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