By Dipo Olowookere
Federal government has transferred about 21 percent of its stake in the Nigerian Security, Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
It was learnt that the apex bank is expected to manage, restructure and restore the company to profitability within a period of five years.
At the signing ceremony, Nigeria’s Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo, who is the chairman national council on privatization, explained that the sale will allow private sector participation in the company.
Speaking further at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr Osinbajo noted that the ceremony underscores the importance government attaches to its privatization, adding that the sale will bring the cutting-edge technology and innovation required for the firm.
He urged the CBN to ensure that Nigeria derives maximum benefit from the union.
CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, also speaking at the event, described the minting firm as an asset with the capacity to produce currency for not just Nigeria but also for the West African region, also to produce sensitive security documents for government and for private companies.
“The capacity of the mint has increased and expanded and it now produces all the currency that is needed in the country. The mint capacity has been expanded to where it has idle capacity that can produce of other ECOWAS countries.
“We intend to embark on aggressive marketing to see to it that not only produces for itself but also produces for other important stakeholders that may require its services in the area of currency printing.
“In the area of security document, we are working assiduously given the fact that the mint was in the past produced passports and produced visas and other very sensitive security documents.
“Our next phase is to see to it that the NSPMC eventually begins the printing of the digital Nigerian passport,” Mr Emefiele said.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NSPMC, Mr Joseph Ugbo, appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to save resources by handing over the printing of all ballot papers and electoral materials for the 2019 elections to the company, saying NSPM has the capacity to handle it.
It was learnt that the transaction is expected to contribute a net sum of over N17 billion to the coffers of government.
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