Nigeria – A mad scramble for Nigeria has been underway since 1999. The name of the game is called privatization. It was a program put in place to dispose of some 1,000 state-owned enterprises and institutional buildings to a few highly placed Nigerians and their foreign collaborators.
The exercise has never been transparent; it was not intended to be anyway. So far, it has been characterized, in typical Nigerian fashion, by greed and avarice. While privatization may not be entirely dismissed, the manner in which it has so far been implemented in Nigeria leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
For decades, Nigerians have been contending with many non-performing state run enterprises and past efforts to stem the tide failed to turn things around. But while Nigerians knew this and more, and welcomed any moves at repositioning these money guzzlers, they hardly knew former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, had unpatriotic plans when he labelled all state run enterprises as corrupt and promised to breathe fresh life into them. Thereafter, the government proceeded on a frenzied and incoherent privatization exercise that has continued to be the source of embarrassment and shame to Nigerians. Rather than handing over the enterprises to efficient private investors with the requisite technical know how and experience, the government proceeded on an exercise that was largely shrouded in secrecy and bereft of even the semblance of transparency. Most of the enterprises, including institutional buildings, were cornered by shady investors and their collaborators in high places in government. Even some of its most vociferous proponents believe so many things have gone wrong with the privatization exercise. In an unusual admission of failure, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) the body charged with overseeing the privatization exercise, recently revealed that a miserly 10 percent of the 400 hundred privatized firms in Nigeria are properly functioning. Even at that, many sneering Nigerians and experts hotly dispute this figure.
Source: All Africa