The House of Representatives Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation has resolved to probe all previous privatisations beyond the five years ceiling provided by the law.
This decision was taken by members of the Hon Mohammed Gololo-headed committee on Monday during its inaugural meeting at the National Assembly.
A member of the Committee, Hon Nkem Abonta said many companies were implementing the agreement of privatisation in the breach padding that there is the need for a review of the process.
Members of the committee said the purpose of the privatisation was being defeated by the circumvention of the clauses in the agreement.
Another member, Hon Nicholas Ossai said the panel might have to go back to the House to receive wider powers in a bid to investigate the issue, and if necessary effect a review of the act to enable a review of privatised companies beyond the five years restriction.
He said: “We need to identify those that are working and those that are not. This committee has the power. Looking at he documents that the chairman has already presented, we can go back to plenary through a draft motion to get additional powers.
“We can query those aspects that are not functioning and mandate the Committee to review every privatisation that has been done on the past 10 years. We can question areas that the committee that did the privatisation has made mistakes upon and those ones that have failed the process. And even then, we can review the privatisation of the DisCos.”
He further said the committee has power, especially the National Assembly, to review everything that has been done before and that is the essence of this committee.
“I want to assure the chairman of our loyalty to this committee and to be able to work robustly with him in achieving these grey areas particularly the area of electricity,” he said.
The committee said there is need to revisit some privatised companies or concessions to find out if the objectives have been met
Gololo said: “We all know, privatisation and commercialisation have become an integral part of pro-competition programme and has now become a familiar feature of new consensus economic policy. This can be achieved through direct sale of assets to the private sector.
“There are many reasons for privatisation. The most important of them has been a disillusion with the capacity of the nationalised industries to deliver effective and efficient service to the public and achieve social goals they were set to attain.
“For nationalised industries the principal agent problem was particularly acute.
“The objective of the government officials who manage the companies were often conflicting, the government department in charge of the company added another layer of complexity, with the result that management has no clear objectives and no sustained incentive to perform.
“One major objective of privatisation was to make the company more efficient. In many countries government had large budget deficits and a limited capacity to raise revenue through taxes.
“Thus privatisation, to them, was a way of disposing off all loss-making companies and providing desperately needed revenues to the state.”
Source: The Nation