301 Reps kick Against Ajaokuta’s Privatisation
A Bill for an Act to amend the Public Enterprise (Privatisation and Commercialisation) Act to review the list of enterprises to be privatised passed second reading at the House of Representatives.
The bill which was sponsored by Rep. Nkem Abonta (Abia-PDP) and 300 others, seeks to delete the Ajaokuta Steel Company from the list of enterprises to be commercialised.
Leading the debate, Abonta said the amendment of the Act was necessary because a bill seeking to provide funds for the completion of the company was already on the floor of the house.
He explained that for the bill seeking the completion of the company to achieve its aim, there was need to prevent the company from being commercialised.
In his contribution, Rep. Aminu Shagari (Sokoto-APC) said it was the right of the people to decide which public asset should be commercialised or privatised.
He said as representatives of the people, “we want the steel company completed and not commercialised or privatised.”
After the debate, the Speaker of the house, Mr Yakubu Dogara, announced the forwarding of the bill to the Committee of the Whole for further legislative actions.
Meanwhile the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Privatisation, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, has said the senate was not out to victimise anybody or to reverse the privatisation of companies.
Murray-Bruce, disclosed this when he led a team of the Senate Committee on Privatisation on a visit to Dana Steel Limited last year stressed that the privatisation of companies, particularly those in the power sector, could not be faulted, maintaining that it was well done.
He said, “Why should we want the privatisation to be reversed. With the privatisation of companies such as Delta Steel company, Ajaokuta Steel Company, the federal government gets money to spend on other needs such as roads, health, etc. Our interest is to get jobs for more Nigerians through privatisation.”
He said the committee was currently on a tour of privatised companies across the country with a view to having on the spot information and assessment of how the companies were performing.
Senator Murray-Bruce added that whatever their findings were, they would be made public.
According to him, “The Senate set up the committee on privatisation. We are currently on tour of Nigeria to look at privatised companies. Our recommendations on such companies would be made known to the senate and Nigerians. We, at the senate, are not out to victimize anybody or reverse the privatization.
“While people are entitled to their opinions, I believe that the privatisation process especially in the power sector was perfectly done. It cannot be faulted. But what we are saying is that we should find business solutions to our economic problems. To fight business persons away in recession is madness.”