The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has blamed the gross inefficiency of Nigeria’s publicly owned enterprises for the country’s low GDP growth.

The bureau, however, lamented that this poor performance has rubbed off on Nigerian citizens as they are yet to reap the benefits of investments that never took place.

Delivering a paper titled, “Managing the Media in Nigeria Privatisation Programme”, at the quarterly seminar of the Association of Business Editors in Nigeria (ABEN) in Abeokuta, Ogun State at the weekend, Director, Development Institutions and Natural Resources Department at BPE, Joe Anichebe, said that Nigeria had opted to sell or reform those state enterprises given the global shift in macroeconomic policy that favoured the transfer of state ownership of enterprises to private sector as witnessed in Great Britain (privatization) and the then USSR (Perestroika).

Anichebe said the decision to sell the enterprises backfired because they failed abysmally due to crass incompetence and mismanagement, adding that most Nigerians are divided over the necessity for privatisation.

“The underlying factor for the programme speaks to the purpose of government: governance and not business.

At best, government can only provide the enabler for business in way of policies, regulations, infrastructure and sometimes, funds intervention in critical sectors that threatens overall economic growth of a nation. Government has no business in business,” he noted.

According to him, more work needs to be done by the bureau in supervision and monitoring of the performance of public and privatised enterprises.

Anichebe further revealed that with its reinvigorated Post Transaction Management Department (PTMD), the Federal Government’s broad objectives of implementation of business plans and post-acquisition plans, which will be submitted by investors, will ensure prompt achievement of economic value envisaged for the Nigerian economy through the fulfilment of contractual, legally binding agreements and the growth of the privatised enterprises.

“We are always making efforts to strengthen the openness and transparency of BPE processes and operations so that investors, the government and the general public will have confidence in what we are doing. This is the only way we shall avoid or at least minimise the spate of invitations by the National Assembly in particular and security agencies to answer one query or the other about our transactions,” he said.

The Director thereafter charged the media to continue being the vanguard of promoting the economic reform and privatisation programme of the Federal Government.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, Chairman of ABEN, Mr. Omoh Gabriel, said the association came into existence to strengthen professionalism and capacity building among business editors in both print and electronic media.

He said the association would provide a veritable platform for dialogue between policymakers and implementers to further enrich Nigeria’s economic development.

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