The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), yesterday, disclosed that as soon as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is passed into law, Nigeria’s four refineries will be up for sale.
The government, it said, was committed to sale the refineries despite the resistance against the privatisation of the nation’s refineries by the National Union of Petroleum and Gas Workers (NUPENG).
Speaking when the Thailand Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Chailert Limsomboon, paid him a courtesy call, the Director-General BPE, Mr. Benjamin Dikki, affirmed that the PIB is currently before the National Assembly and would soon be passed into law.
“As soon as the bill is passed, the refineries will be privatised and the pipelines and depots concessioned,” he assured.
Dikki listed the huge growth potentials in key sectors of the Nigerian economy, adding that the bureau was currently concentrating on perfecting the legal and regulatory framework for all the sectors of the economy to create the enabling environment for private sector participation.
He noted that the purpose of the review of the legal and regulatory frameworks was to aggregate the regulatory powers currently dispersed in various agencies in each sector into one sector regulator and separate policy from regulation.
He also outlined the huge potentials in the transport sector, noting that Nigeria has over 193,000 kilometres of federal roads, which provide opportunities for potential road concessionaires.
According to him, 15 out of the 17 successor companies created out of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) are fully in the hands of the private sector while the remaining two are at the concluding stages for handover to the private sector, adding that the Transmission Company of Nigeria would continue to reside with the Federal Government.
Earlier, the ambassador disclosed that his country has made economic cooperation with Nigeria the high point of its new Africa Initiative.
He noted that in the past, Thailand had not paid enough attention to the economic opportunities in the West African sub-region, particularly Nigeria. “Hope we have not missed the train in the Nigeria privatisation programme?”
According to him, he would make exploration of business opportunities and expansion of economic cooperation with Nigeria a priority, adding that the purpose of the visit was to learn about the reform and privatisation policy in Nigeria and the new growth sectors to properly sensitise the Thai business community that may be interested in investing in Nigeria.