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BPE to spend N259m on staff travels, training, others

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) will spend N258,520,420 on training and  local travels of staff as well as maintenance of their offices as contained…

The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) will spend N258,520,420 on training and  local travels of staff as well as maintenance of their offices as contained in the 2024 Appropriation Bill.

This is at a time when many already privatised government companies are struggling to stay afloat.

The government’s privatisation agency has a total budget allocation of N2.4billion.

But the bureau plans to spend N108.3million on local travels by its officials, N142.2m on maintenance services, N80m on local trainings and N85m on utilities.

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Not only that, the privatisation agency has got N23.7m on materials supplies, N30.6m on security and N7.9m on cleaning and fumigation of office premises.

The bureau staff got N40.6m for their National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and N81.3m as employer’s contribution to Contributory Pension.

Out of the N2.4bn allocated by the federal government to the bureau to spend in 2024, personnel cost will gulp N1.4bn while N316.8m will be spent on capital projects.

The agency’s overhead for next is N715.6m, N74.7m for miscellaneous and N76.3 on consultation fees.

In February 2018, BPE had disclosed that 37 per cent of the 152 privatised enterprises in the country were non-performing.

But in September 2022, the privatisation agency put the number of non-performing enterprises at 16 per cent, signifying a decline of 11 per cent and a positive outlook.

Speaking with Daily Trust yesterday, a public analyst, Idowu Egba Aribise, said it is doubtful if the country has reasonably achieved certain broad objectives and benefits of the privatisation programme, which commenced about many years ago.

Daily Trust reports that some of these objectives include the liberalisation of the economy to make the private sector “The engine of growth”, rehabilitate dead or moribund enterprises, promote efficiency, and better management, and create employment opportunities.

The move towards privatisation was also targeted at reducing corruption and parasite mentality, strengthening capital markets, dismantling monopolies and removing service arrogance, among others.

But from 1993, when some 86 firms were privatised in the first phase of the exercise till now, there has hardly been any major positive impact on the economy as many firms are either wilting or failing badly, according to Aribise.

Besides, he said, there are little or no corresponding returns on investments.

He alleged that many of the investors behind the purchase are only interested in the assets of the firms, and not on adding value, leading to economic losses for the country.

Daily Trust reports that most of the establishments sold by the BPE have either collapsed or are finding it difficult to stay afloat.

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