The Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, says it will privatise the four refineries in Nigeria next year as part of the ongoing oil sector reforms.
This is the second time government is disclosing plans to privatise its refineries as the minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, had earlier said that the four government-owned refineries would be privatised in the first quarter of next year.
“The plans are currently at the preliminary stage, where the blueprint of the policy will be decided…We are working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources on this. We are just in the preliminary discussion with them and very soon, we will make public the work plan for the processes, including the engagement of advisers, to advise us on the transaction,” head of public communications at the bureau, Chigbo Anichebe, said.
Anichebe said that the privatisation would be handled in line with the usual strategy of the bureau, which is to sell a certain percentage of shares and reserve a certain percentage for the workers, host communities and the Nigerians public.
He urged Nigerians not to be apprehensive about the refineries’ sale because only capable and visionary investors would be considered in the privatisation process.
“People should not be edgy about this transaction because we have done this over and over again. When we first started with the telecommunications sector, people were worried that we will give it to the wrong people…People were also worried about the security implications and all that. I believe that whether these companies end up with local or foreign investors, what is important is the efficiency of whoever is handling it,” he explained.
According to him, foremost considerations will be that the buyers have the financial force and technical know-how to run the companies.
“We don’t bother about where they come from, as long as they are coming with clean money to invest in our economy. So, when we are doing our evaluation of investors for the transaction, that is what we will look at,” he stressed.
The bureau, he said, would also begin the privatisation of the housing sector, Abuja Security and Commodity Exchange Plc. as well as the transportation sector in 2014.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo approved the sale of the refineries during his administration in 2007 but late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s government reversed the sale of the refineries for lack of transparency in the transaction.