Akwa- Ibom State Governor, Mr.Udom Emmanuel has pledged to support the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in its reform and privatisation mandate and called on Nigerians to support the privatisation agency in exercising its mandate.
Receiving the management team of BPE, led by its Director General, Mr. Alex A. Okoh, which paid a courtesy visit to him on Monday, January 27, 2020, as part of the activities for the Bureau’s 2020 Management Staff Retreat in the State, Gov.Emmanuel expressed satisfaction with the efforts being put in place by the Federal Government through the BPE to resolve the lingering legal tussle on the Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) at Ikot-Abasi which is in a moribund state.
He noted the stabilizing role of BPE in the nation’s economy and said that government was not usually a good manager of businesses but provides an enabling environment for businesses to thrive, hence the need to support the Bureau to carry out its assignment.
The Governor who was represented by his deputy, Mr.Moses Frank Ekpo, said the floating of an airline-Ibom Air by his government was part of his administration’s efforts to industrialise the state and that soon, the airline would be floated on the Capital Market for Nigerians to take up shares with indigenes of the state given preference.
He added that the state would leverage on the expertise of BPE towards the industrialization policy of his administration and called for greater synergy between the Bureau and the state.
Earlier, Director General of the BPE, Mr. Alex A. Okoh had informed the governor that the Federal Government was concerned with the lingering legal tussle surrounding ALSCON and had placed the issue on the front burner.
The Director General pointed out that if the Smelter Company was functioning, it would have provided about 8,500 direct jobs and 35,000 indirect jobs to Nigerians which Akwa-Ibom State would have been the greatest beneficiary.
Okoh commended the state as trail-blazer in Nigeria, the West-African Sub-region and indeed, the world for floating an airline which he noted, meets international standards.
He informed the governor that since the over 30 years of the Bureau’s existence, it had reformed over 230 previous Public Enterprises (PEs) in the Banking Sector, Oil & Gas, Telecoms, Pension and Debts’ managements among others.
On the power sector which is the biggest reform exercise executed by the Bureau, he said if the privatization had not been carried out in 2013, the sector would have collapsed by now, adding that the Federal Government was addressing the hiccups being experienced in the sector.