The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has advised participants in the concession and privatization of the country’s assets to be more circumspect and enquire more about certain types of assets that are involved.
He harped on the importance of conducting an audit of all assets that have been concessioned or privatized in order to achieve improved efficiency and ask if the objective of the exercise has been achieved.
This was made known by Fashola at the public hearing of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation of Government Assets on Monday in Abuja.
What the Minister of Works and Housing is saying
Fashola said, “I think if we do that and interrogate very honestly, some of the things that would begin to become obvious to us is that we need to be more circumspect about certain types of assets.’’
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the Minister noted that there are certain types of assets that the private sector is just unable to deal with.
He said, “For example, when you look at roads, not many people who claim to want to do it have the capacity or the experience to do it. Let us start with the Lekki-Epe Expressway which was concessioned.’’
The minister who stated that the concession agreement was signed in 2005, noted that there was no final financial arrangement until 2010, 5 years later, adding that between 2007 when he became governor and 2010, the road had yet to start.
He stated, “So, for an asset we had concessioned, the Lagos State Government had to first go and borrow money to start the work meant to be concessioned.’’
Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Privatization and Commercialization, Ibrahim Misau, said that the policy of privatisation and commercialisation drive of the Federal Government over the years had been weighed down with numerous setbacks despite its good intentions.
He said, “This is why the House of Representatives is proposing a more potent bill to replace the existing one for improved efficiency and management of the nation’s public assets.’’
The privatization policy of the Federal Government with respect to some of its assets have achieved partial success with some improvement and efficiency recorded with some of them, while some of them have not performed.
Some of the investors have been noted to lack the capacity and technical expertise to manage some of those assets efficiently.
This has led to calls from some stakeholders for a review of the privatization of these public assets.