House Committee to Review, Investigate Privatised Govt Companies

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation Monday said it would review and investigate some privatised government companies or concessions to find out if the objectives of the privatisation has been met.

The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Mohammed Gololo and lawmaker representing Gamawa federal constituency of Bauchi State, disclosed this at the committee’s inaugural meeting on Monday in Abuja.

He said that the overall idea was to make sure that the privatisation was effective and to also ensure that the commercialisation initiative was successful.

Gololo noted: “As legislators and representatives of the people, it is our duty and responsibility to checkmate and investigate the process, activities and outcome of the privatisation process.”

The committee chairman noted that one major objective of privatisation was to make the company more efficient, stressing that privatisation was a way of disposing of of all loss-making companies and providing desperately needed revenues to the state.

Gololo said that in most instances, privatisation had brought benefits to the consumer, not only in terms of lower price, but also in terms of improved quality of service and efficiency.

Another member of the committee, Hon. Nicholas Ossai, noted that the panel might have to go back to the House to receive wider powers in a bid to investigate the issue, and if necessary effect a review of the act to enable a review of privatised companies beyond the five-year restriction.

He said: “We need to identify those that are working and those that are not. This committee has the power. Looking at the documents that the chairman has already presented, we can go back to plenary through a draft motion to get additional powers.

“We can query those aspects that are not functioning and mandate the committee to review every privatisation that has been done on the past 10 years. We can question areas that the committee that did the privatisation has made mistakes and those ones that has failed the process. And even then, we can review the privatisation of the Discos.”

The committee pointed out that the effect of privatisation could be evaluated under many headings, which include effects on efficiency on government revenue and income distribution.

Ossai added that the price paid for the sale of the company is also a crucial variable, stressing that if underpaid, the privatisation programme could end up worsening instead of improving government finances in the long run.