Privatisation, Avenue for Raising Productivity Bar—Onyema

Nigerian Stock Exchange NSE Oscar Onyema

By Ahmed Rahma

The chief executive of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr Oscar Onyema, has said “privatisation occupies a unique position in global economic liberalization and provides an avenue for raising the bar of productivity towards greater economic development.”

He made this disclosure during a webinar hosted by the exchange on Tuesday, November 17, 2020, in conjunction with the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).

At the event themed Privatisation in Nigeria and the Outlook for Subnational Economic Development, the NSE boss stated that “in Sub-Saharan Africa between 2000 and 2008, total proceeds of privatisation were valued at $12.6 billion.”

“This contributed to the growth of the sub-region during the period. We are, therefore, excited to lay emphasis on the positive outcomes of the National Privatisation Programme in 1987, which includes the deepening and broadening of the capital market by a large body of shareholders.

“The outcomes of the programme which includes success in relieving the government of the burden of financing public enterprises, creating liquidity for the government to pay off debts and finance new expenditures, thus raising the level of investments in infrastructures,” he mentioned.

Delivering his keynote address, the Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Kayode Fayemi, stated that the sale of public assets has become very important at this period because both the “federal and state governments are experiencing fiscal and economic consequences occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic which has culminated in significant vulnerabilities in our capacity to increase investment and protect business and livelihood.”

“We believe that if the private sector takes over critical segments of the economy, State Governors can focus on social investment initiatives such as health care and education.

“The discussion must, however, involve regulators and financial institutions who are central in providing a conducive environment for privatisation to work,” he concluded.

In his contribution, the Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Lamido Yuguda, who was represented by Executive Commissioner, Legal and Enforcement, Mr Reginald Karawusa, noted that, “Privatisation is one of such avenues governments need to explore in order to unlock economic potentials inherent in government-owned enterprises.”

The webinar several personalities contributing to the topic including the Chairman of Presidential Economic Advisory Council, Professor Doyin Salami; the Executive Secretary, NIPC, Ms Yewande Sadiku; the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Governor of Ogun State, Mr Dapo Abiodun; Governor of Kaduna State, Mr Nasir El-Rufai; and Governor of Bauchi State, Mr Bala Mohammed.

Others were the Director-General of Bureau of Public Enterprises, Mr Alex Okoh; CEO, Financial Derivatives and Member, Presidential Advisory Council, Mr Bismarck Rewane; CEO, Chapel Hill Denham, Mr Bolaji Balogun; MD/CEO, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr Uche Orji; the Partner & Chief Economist of PwC Nigeria, Dr Andrew Nevin; Chairman, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria, Ms Ibukun Awosika; and CEO, InfraCredit Chinua Azubike.

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