Sale of 11 Benue companies not a fundraiser for Ortom’s re-election – Benue govt
Written by Henry on April 12, 2018
The Benue State Government on Thursday said the planned sale of 11 companies belonging to the state is not meant as a fundraiser for the governor’s second term bid, as is being insinuated in some quarters.
The government revealed that it has concluded arrangement to “wholly and partially” privatise 11 companies belonging to the state.
The proceeds will be used to develop critical sectors that would be of benefit to the people, the government said.
The State Commissioner for Industry, Trade and Investment, Prof. Tersoo Kpelai, who disclosed this during a press conference in Makurdi, said that the sale was not totally meant to raise money to offset salary arrears of workers as being speculated in some quarters.
Reacting to the insinuations that the companies were to be sold to raise funds for the governor’s second term bid, Kpelai explained that the 11 companies would undergo “partially” or “wholly” privatisation, anchored on the principles of bringing efficiency, effective performance and economic prosperity to the State.
He said the companies listed for privatisation were established over a decade ago, but most of them have not been operational for the past six years, while the ones that are “sparingly operational” do so at a loss.
Kpelai added that most of the enterprises listed for sale have “remained comatose for decades,” serving as monuments and not adding any economic value to the state, reiterating that the privatisation law provides the retention of not less than 20 percent equity by the natives.
He said, “Privatising therefore became the only option since government has developmental challenges with slim resources.
“Privatising these enterprises will bring efficiency and effective performance, as investors will bring in capital, new technology, skills and better management expertise, among others, which will make enterprises more profitable.
“These enterprises, if run profitably, will provide job opportunities for our teeming youths, create wealth, boost the state’s internally-generated revenue, and create value chain across sectors of the Benue economy.”
The commissioner disabused the minds of “those who hold negative views about the privatisation,” noting that economic policies are driven by facts and prevailing societal challenges and not only on the basis of sentiments or assumptions.
Criticisms have continued to trail the proposed sale of 11 companies owned by Benue State Government, as the indigenes have describe the move as ‘faulty’ and ‘ill-timed,’ coming prior to preparations for political campaigns.
On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, the Benue State Government through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry advertised bids in one of the national dailies for sale of companies deemed as moribund.
They include Benue Links, Makurdi Modern Market, Taraku Mills, Mega Foods, Benfruit, Wannune Tomato and Mango Juice Factory, Benkims Plastic and Katsina Ala Yam Flour.
Others are Agricultural Development Company, Fertiliser Blending Plant, Otukpo Burnt Bricks and Benco Roof Tiles.
Benue indigenes have kicked against the action, maintaining that it is as a wrong step.
“Government is just waking up now to its responsibility. Why did they not take this step before now? It is a way to raise money for campaigns. There are more serious issues to tackle at this time, especially the huge salary arrears that have been the biggest albatross of this administration,” they fumed.
It could be recalled that on assumption of office in 2015, Governor Samuel Ortom embarked on tour of all the companies in the state, promising to revive them.