Leading Public and Private Sector Officials Promote Privatisation as a Tool for Economic Development


Wednesday, November 18, / 3:28 PM / by Tenebe Anthonia / Header Image Credit: Twitter; @nsenigeria

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Public and private sector industry leaders have highlighted the significant benefits of privatisation of State-Owned Enterprises and the impact on economic growth and development. This was indicated at the webinar on privatisation hosted by The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE or The Exchange) in collaboration with the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC). The event which took place on Tuesday, 17 November 2020 was themed, "Privatisation in Nigeria and the Outlook for Subnational Economic Development".

Speaking during the webinar, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NSE, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema, OON stated, "Privatisation occupies a unique position in global economic liberalization and provides an avenue for raising the bar of productivity towards greater economic development. In Sub-Saharan Africa between 2000 and 2008, total proceeds of privatization were valued at $12.6 billion. This contributed to the growth of the sub region during the period. We are, therefore, excited to lay emphasis on the positive outcomes of the National Privatisation Programme in 1987, which includes the deepening, and broadening of the capital market by a large body of shareholders. The outcomes of the programme which includes success in relieving the government of the burden of financing public enterprises, creating liquidity for the government to pay off debts and finance new expenditures, thus raising the level of investments in infrastructures".

In delivering his keynote address, the Executive Governor, and Chairman, NGF, His Excellency (H.E.) Dr. Kayode Fayemi, CON, commented, "This meeting has come at an opportune time when Federal and State Governments are experiencing fiscal and economic consequences occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic which has culminated in significant vulnerabilities in our capacity to increase investment and protect business and livelihood. Privatisation will, therefore, not only include private sector investments but also participation in health service delivery and public governance. We believe that if private sector takes over critical segments of the economy, State Governors can focus on social investment initiatives such as health care and education. The discussion must, however, involve regulators and financial institutions who are central in providing a conducive environment for privatisation to work".

The event also featured a goodwill message from the Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Lamido Yuguda, CFA, who was represented by represented by Executive Commissioner, Legal and Enforcement, Mr. Reginald Karawusa. He stated, "There is no better time than now to discuss alternative funding sources at the sub national level given adverse impacts brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Privatisation is one of such avenues governments need to explore in order to unlock economic potentials inherent in government owned enterprises. Beyond the funds to be generated, governments will enjoy cost of savings and e taxes that would be paid in the future by those entities. As they undergo strategic transformation and become positioned for profitability, these entities are able to create jobs and employ residents of their host states, facilitate infrastructure development and further positively impact the economy in other areas".

Also featured at the event was the Chairman, Presidential Economic Advisory Council, Professor Doyin Salami who set the stage for the panel sessions. The first panel session was moderated by Executive Secretary, NIPC, Ms. Yewande Sadiku and focused on the topic, Privatization of State-Owned Enterprises: A Catalyst for Economic Growth. It featured Governor, Lagos State, H.E. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Governor, Ogun State, H.E. Dapo Abiodun; Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr. Alex Okoh, CEO, Financial Derivatives and Member, Presidential Advisory Council, Mr. Bismarck Rewane; CEO, Chapel Hill Denham, Mr. Bolaji Balogun and MD/CEO, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr. Uche Orji.

The second panel session was centred on the topic, Unlocking State Revenue Potential and Engendering Economic Development through Privatization of State-Owned Enterprises. Moderated by moderated by Partner & Chief Economist, PwC Nigeria, Dr. Andrew Nevin, the session featured Governor, Kaduna State, H.E. Nasir El-Rufai; Governor, Bauchi State, H.E. Bala Mohammed; Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria, Ms. Ibukun Awosika; and CEO, InfraCredit Chinua Azubike; A recap of events was provided by the Divisional Head, Listings Business, Mr. Olumide Bolumole, while the closing remarks were delivered by the Director General, NGF, Mr. Asishana Okauru, represented by Dr. Abdulateef Shittu, Executive Director, NGF. 

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