24th November, 2013
Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, has confirmed that it would privatise the four refineries in the country next year.
Chigbo Anichebe, the Bureau’s Head, Public Communications, said that the refineries’ privatisation was part of the ongoing oil sector’s reforms.
Last week, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, told Bloomberg TV Africa in London that the country would privatise its four government-owned refineries in the first quarter of next year.
This is the second time the Federal Government is disclosing plans to privatise its refineries.
President Olusegun Obasanjo approved the sale of the refineries during his administration but the late President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007 reversed the sale of the refineries for lack of transparency in the transaction.
However, President Goodluck Jonathan in November 2012 recommended that the refineries should be sold due to inadequate finance and under-performance.
Anichebe says the privatisation plans were currently at the preliminary stage, where the blueprint of the policy would be decided.
“We are working with the NNPC and Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the privatisation of the four refineries. We are just in the preliminary discussion with them and very soon, we will make public the work plan for the privatisation processes, including the engagement of advisers to advise us on the transaction,” he said.
He added that: “Once the work plan is fine-tuned, hopefully by the end of the year or early January next year, the work plan as well as the schedule will be unveiled to all stakeholders, including the media,’’ he said.
Anichebe said that the privatisation would be handled in line with the usual strategy of the bureau, which was to sell a certain percentage of shares and reserve a certain percentage for the workers, host communities and Nigerians at large.
He urged Nigerians not to be apprehensive about the refineries’ sale because only capable and visionary investors would be considered in the privatisation process. “People should not be edgy about this transaction because we have done this over and over again. When we first started with the telecommunications sector, people were worried that we will give it to the wrong people. They were worried about the security implications and all that. I believe that whether these companies end up with local, home-based or foreign investors, what is important is the efficiency of whoever is handling it.”
In 2014, the bureau will begin the privatisation of the housing sector, Abuja Security and Commodity Exchange Plc., as well as the country’s transportation sector.