BPE Urges N’ Assembly to Resolve Overlapping Functions with ICRC

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* To initiative comprehensive healthcare reforms

By Ndubuisi Francis

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has urged the National Assembly to urgently resolve the role conflict between it and the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), lamenting that the overlapping mandates are unhealthy for real development.

The BPE Director General, Mr. Alex Okoh, made the appeal in Abuja Tuesday when members of the Senate Committee on Privatisation led by its Chairman, Senator Theodore Orji, paid him a visit.

Okoh, who listed the BPE/ICRC overlapping mandates as one of the major challenges facing the privatisation agency, observed that the overlap usually manifests in concession and public-private partnership (PPP) programmes.

Urging the Senate Committee on Privatisation to quickly find a way to clear the fog on the mandate of each of the agencies, Okoh noted that from the enabling Act setting up ICRC, its role should be regulatory and not that of an implementing body as it tends to do.

According to him, private sector investment is key to BPE’s reformation activities, regretting that as far as infrastructure is concerned, the role overlap creates a lot of confusion.

“The opportunities, particularly in the infrastructure space are limitless, and we need the full weight of political leadership for its success,” Okoh said.

Giving an overview of BPE’s activities, he disclosed that the agency had executed 234 transactions since inception, 44 of them being assets sale, 58 core investor sales, 49 public offers, 47 concessions, 11 liquidations, 15 private placements, and 15 management/employee buyout, among others.

Okoh disclosed that 78 per cent of the 234 enterprises privatised are performing well, 16 are not doing well, while six are on the verge of being evaluated.

He cited the success of the telecoms and pension sectors, among others as some of the highpoints of the reforms carried out by the BPE.

Okoh disclosed that the privatisation agency was initiating a comprehensive reform of the health sector as part of its 2020 work plan.

The BPE Director General expressed concern that 80 per cent of healthcare services come from out-of-pocket expenses of Nigerians.

Noting that this is not in tandem with global best practices, Okoh disclosed that the proposed healthcare reform would make healthcare delivery accessible to every Nigerian.

In response to questions by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Orji and other members, Okoh said when implemented, the Power Sector Recovery Programme packaged by the World Bank would see a massive improvement in power