Nigeria : Senate Begins BPE Probe Today

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Turaki A. Hassan, 8 August 2011

Senate President David Mark is expected to formally open investigation into the activities of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BEP) on the privatisation and commercialization of federal government owned public enterprises in Nigeria from 1999 to date.

This was sequel to a motion on the matter sponsored by Senate Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (ANPP, Yobe North) and adopted by the Senate pursuant to its resolution No. S/Res/004/01/11 passed on 19th July, 2011.

This is the second time in about three years former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Malam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufa’i will face a Senate probe, this time over the activities of the BPE which he once headed.

Back in 2008, El-Rufa’i had appeared before the Senate panel that probed activities of the FCT administration, which he headed from 2003-7. He is to appear before the new 7-member panel in his capacity as the first Director General of the BPE in 1999-2003 to explain what senators described as the failure of the privatization policy.

Senator Lawan and 25 other senators had sought to open a comprehensive investigation of the privatization and commercialization of government companies undertaken by BPE since 2000.

All other former heads of the BPE as well as officials involved in the privatization process are expected to also appear before the Senate panel which has been mandated to conduct a thorough investigation into factors that caused the failure of privatised companies.

Lawan had argued that privatised or commercialised government companies had failed with huge consequences for the nation’s economy due massive job losses.

Though the Senate had given the panel four weeks to submit its report there are strong indications that the time may be too short for it to do a thorough job.


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