Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr.Alex Okoh, has advised the federal government to consider the
privatisation of federal government-owned enterprises to fund the N10.33 trillion 2020 budget, which has a total deficit of N2.28 trillion.
He decried a situation where state-owned enterprises place an undue pressure on the lean public purse by way of subventions.
A statement by BPE’s Head, Public Communications, Amina Tukur Othman quoted Okoh as saying that there was no justification for the ritual of yearly budget deficit with local and external borrowings when there
are national assets that could be converted into liquidity to fund the government’s fiscal programmes.
“It is not good to keep borrowing on a yearly basis to finance deficit budget when a lot of very valuable national assets are lying fallow and moribund. Proceeds from outright privatisation or concession of the moribund assets, should serve as veritable sources in funding
the budget since the assets are more or less, becoming national liabilities,” he added.
Speaking at an interactive forum with the Senate Committee on Privatisation at the National Assembly, Okoh said the privatisation agency has so far contributed N135 billion out of the N220 billion expected revenue from it to fund the 2019 Budget.
The amount, he said, was generated through the sale of the Afam Electricity Generation Company (Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Limited), re-privatisation of the Yola Electricity Distribution Company (YEDC) and sale of 29 per cent federal government’s shares in
the Geregu Power plant.
He said the BPE was expected to contribute N220 billion to the budget in line with the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) approved for the 2019 budget.
Okoh called on the National Assembly to critically look at the funding framework for the agency, and expressed optimism that the agency would meet its target for the 2020 fiscal budget.
He regretted that out of the N2 billion allocated to the agency, yearly from the national purse for its operations, N1.5 billion is for staff emoluments through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
According to him, “of the N500 million that is supposed to come to the Bureau for overheads and capital expenditure, cent of the amount is eventually released to the Bureau against what is obtained in other revenue generating agencies of the federal government.”