PRIVATIZATION OF KEY GOVERNMENT ENTERPRISES: THE OLD ERROR THAT MUST BE AVOIDED.
Nigeria as a nation has some state-owned industries/enterprises that perform important public services and serve as the major sources of revenue generation for the government of the federation. Such enterprises/agencies such as the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) etc should not be privatized.
Privatization involves selling State-owned assets to the Private Sector(s) or the transfer of ownership, property or business from the government to the Private Sector.
NPA was established as a continuous public corporation by the Ports Act of 1954 and its major function is to serve the interest of Nigeria as stated in the Act. Founded on 1st April, 1977; NNPC is the oil corporation of the Federal Government of Nigeria through which it regulates and participates in the country's petroleum industry. Similarly, NIMASA is another agency of the Federal Government saddled with the responsibility of regulating the Maritime Industry of Nigeria.
The core essence for the establishment of these enterprises/agencies is to serve the interest of the public (Nigeria). This will certainly be compromised once they are in the hands of Private sector (Individuals).
The danger of Privatization is that private firms can exploit their monopoly power and ignore wider social cost and this is why many see Privatization as Personalization. Their motive is just profit making, and once this happens, the masses that are already poor, battling for survival will be encouraged to perish. What about the social consequences such as unemployment due to mass retrenchment of staffs that always accompany privatization? Just recently, most Access Bank Staffs would have been disengaged if not the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). So, there will be sacking of workers at will without recourse to its associated challenges. The CBN was able to intervene because they have the power to regulate the activities of financial institutions in Nigeria. So, the activities of the Private Sectors need to be checked and regulated by the government to avoid unnecessary exploitation of the masses. Privatization is not rooted in desire to promote development for all but to weaken the state by selling its assets to enrich a selected few-the Rich.
Both chambers of the National Assembly, (as representatives of their zones and constituencies) that have the power to make laws and scrutinize the actions of the government, are encouraged to remain resolute and kick against the privatization of the commonwealth of Nigerians. NITEL and VON are some examples of failed privatized companies in Nigeria.
If any government enterprise(s) seems to be poorly managed, the panacea is not privatization but changing the management and management structures, engaging new hands to inject fresh ideas and punishing defaulters where necessary.
Privatization cannot address unemployment, rural poverty, uneven development and infrastructure deficiencies. Privatization will rather decrease regulation, decrease government revenue, hike in prices of goods and services rendered, exploitation of customers and privatization will bring untold misery to many Nigerians through avoidable loss of jobs, thereby deepening unemployment and hardship.
Say NO to Privatization!
Nigerian Presidency President Muhammadu Buhari The Bureau of Public Enterprises National Economic Consultative Forum – NECF Professor Yemi Osinbajo Federal Ministry Of Finance Nigeria Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria Africa Independent Television Vanguard Nigeria Silverbird Television Abuja Channels Television Television Continental (TVC) National Television Authority – NTA Central Bank of Nigeria Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Nigerian Maritime Administration & Safety Agency Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Marina Voice of Nigeria-VON