Cross River to privatise state-owned enterprises, inaugurates council

The Cross River State government is set to privatise state-owned enterprises, as it inaugurates council with a mandate to embark on facts finding referendum across the three senatorial districts of the state.

The council began the interface with critical stakeholders in government and the private sector towards the statewide referendum survey that will be conducted to determine the preferred options for the efficient implementation of the second phase of the privatisation of industries in Cross River State.

Speaking at the event, the chairman John Monday Odo who welcomed all members and stakeholders to the interactive session said that over the years, many countries, especially developing ones have witnessed increasing costs and poor performance of state-owned enterprises resulting in heavy financial losses. He gave a cursory analysis why the private sector is critical to the implementation of the referendum. Adding that the Council have adopted three models in achieving its goals: Privatisation, Concession and Public-Private Partnership.

The chairman further highlighted that massive sensitisation will be carried out to disseminate information on the need for privatisation. He emphasised that the council will work assiduously in collaboration with chairmen of councils, members of the house of assembly, the traditional institutions, community leaders, women leaders, youth leaders, opinion leaders, leaders of thoughts, the political class and the organised labour to achieve a unanimous outcome for the collective good of Cross River State. He, therefore, called on the people of Cross River State to take advantage of this opportunity to make relevant contributions through the questionnaires that will be presented to them. He noted that the template for the referendum will be ready within a period of one week.

The Commissioner For Finance, Asuquo Ekpenyong Jnr, applauded the initiative of the council for choosing a People-oriented approach to engage the people to participate in the referendum to ensure transparency and credibility.

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He also revealed that to assure due process and due diligence, His Excellency Ben Ayade, has approved the services of a consultant KPMG to offer professional services to the privatisation council. He also reiterated that the State government will continue to encourage core investors who are impacting the economy of Cross River State because the government is expected to provide the enabling environment for private enterprises to thrive.

The Commissioner For Industry Peter Egba said that garment factory and other industries have been earmarked for privatization. He assured that the ministry of industry will give the privatisation council the necessary backings to achieve the mandate of the state government. Noting that privatisation is an avenue used for raising productivity and enhancing the overall economic growth and development.

According to him, increased involvement of the private sector in productive economic activities through the sale of public enterprises to the private sector will categorically improve economic efficiency.

The Executive Secretary Calabar Chamber Of Commerce Kenneth Asim Ita gave a glowing commendable to the Ben Ayade led administration for carving a niche for Cross River State with the Industrial revolution.

He thanked His Excellency Governor Ben Ayade for the laudable efforts in interfacing with the private sector in driving the process of privatizing the newly built industries in the State. He posited that the people-oriented disposition adopted by the privatisation council has given the Calabar Chamber Of commerce the sense of belonging to make credible inputs to the referendum and the actual privatisation process.

The Executive Secretary Manufacturers Association Of Nigeria Cross River And Akwa Ibom Zone expressed his appreciation to the government of Cross River State for inviting the manufacturers Association as critical stakeholders to brainstorm on the modalities for the referendum.

He pledged to disseminate the required information to their members to participate effectively in achieving a credible process. He also called on Cross River State Government to fulfil the obligation of providing access to Road and Electricity to all industries before the privatisation process is carried out.

Speaking on the testimonials of post-privatisation, Mr Usen Umoh, the General Manager Royal International Farms and Rubber Plantation Biakpan, Biase Local Government Area, said privatisation is the way forward in all value chains of the economy. He reiterated that 90 per cent of the workers in the Biakpan Rubber Plantation are indigenes of Biakpan in Biase and that alone has improved their standard of living and the economy in the area.

Mr Usen also noted that from 2003 till date workers salaries are paid promptly.

According to him, the existence of the rubber plantation in Biakpan and its Impact on the host community has practically resolved the recurrent communal crisis that was prevalent in Biakpan.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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