The privatization of state-run agencies since the nation returned to democracy in 1999 has fetched Nigeria 249.5 billion naira ($1.6 billion, 1.1 billion euros), official figures show.
“The gross proceeds from the direct sale of public enterprises between 1999 to date is 249,497,188,000 naira,” the Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, said.
The figure was presented on Saturday at the senate-organised public hearing on the activities of the BPE, an agency under the Nigerian presidency.
The privatization program was launched by the government of ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, under which some ailing or mismanaged government agencies were privatized to enhance their efficiency and profitability.
The cement, steel, sugar and fertilizer agencies as well as mortgage banks are among the government arms that have been privatized.
Unfortunately, the revenues have been mismanaged due to the exercise and the under-performance of some of the privatized companies. This has triggered public outcry and the senate’s decision to set up a committee to look into the BPE’s books.
The body was also accused of selling off some operations at below their established values.
BPE officials appeared before the committee last week to answer questions on the management of the agency, where they said they would like to reconfirm to the Nigerian people that all privatization proceeds from inception are fully accounted for and the records are open for all.