By Ossom Rapheal
Worried by the number of enterprises that have recorded failure after they were privatized due to litigations, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) has revealed that the federal government is on the verge of establishing a Privatisation Tribunal which will have High Court status and adjudicate on matters relating to any enterprise sold, but which the new owners have run aground.
Director-General of the BPE, Mr Benjamin Dikki who made the disclosure during the unveiling of the 2014 work plan of the Bureau in Abuja said that Vice President Namadi Sambo, who chairs the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has directed the Attorney-General of the Federation and minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke to fine-tune the process and proffer the way forward.
Dikki expressed dismay that government could not take back companies sold even when they are not doing well due largely to the fact that when the new owners sense that the federal government was about retrieving the enterprise would quickly go and get a Court injunction stopping the process, while the firm suffers.
This, he said cannot be allowed to continue as the tribunal when it comes into effect, will give the BPE powers to retrieve any enterprise that is not doing well as enshrined in the BPE Act.
He also revealed that the BPE in line with its 2014 work plan targets N535.3 billion from definite transactions based on its proposal to handle a total of 23 such transactions, while the Bureau targets about N211.3 billion from prospective transactions when they are executed.
He said that the Bureau has the approval to execute the guided liquidation of NITEL/MTEL and to review the policy, legal and regulatory framework that would prepare ground for the commercialization of NTA, FRCN, National Film Corporation and NAN.
According to him, the Court process for the appointment of the liquidator for Nitel/Mtel was concluded when the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on 14 March, 2014 granted the petition for the winding up of the organisations through a guided liquidation process and the appointment of Otunba Olutola o. Senbore as liquidator.