30 March 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government will soon commence another process to privatise the Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited (ASCL), Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Benjamin Ezra Dikki, has revealed.
Dikki, who was speaking on a breakfast programme on Independent Television (ITV) in Abuja, said that the Federal Government was exploring an amicable resolution of all issues with the core investor of ASCL- Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited (GINL) at arbitration and once that was done, the privatisation process would commence.
According to him, “The Federal Ministry of Justice is driving the process which is making steady progress and once the issues are resolved, Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited would be handed over to the Federal Government and we would begin another process of privatisation.”
Dikki further explained that when resolved, the National Iron Ore Mining Company (NIOMCO) would be jointly owned by the Federal Government and the Global Infrastructure Holding Limited (GINL).
Recall that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, concessioned the multi-billion dollar plant to GINL but no significant progress was made by the investor to turn around the company, prompting the government to attempt to take the company back which has resulted in the ongoing legal tussle.
Dikki debunked allegations of interference by influential persons in the country to tilt the privatisation programme to their favour, adding that all transaction processes followed laid down procedures and in tune with world best practices.
“It is because of our strict adherence to the rules which are observed by security agencies and anti-graft agencies that international bodies like the World Bank, DFID and many others have continued to applaud us. For the power transaction, it is acclaimed to be the world’s best. President Goodluck Jonathan received accolades from world leaders for the feat,” he stated.
He maintained that reforms had worked for Nigeria and appealed for support by all Nigerians so that all critical areas of the economy are reformed.
Dikki said the Bureau had proposed the setting up of a Privatisation Tribunal to handle cases of privatized enterprises.
He said the matter was receiving attention by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and that when approved, it would quicken the dispensation of justice in the over 200 cases the Bureau had in regular courts.
“The privatisation tribunal will also enable us to take decisive action against non-performing investors,” he stressed.