The Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, on Sunday said it would privatise the four refineries in the country next year.
The Bureau’s Head of Public Communications, Chigbo Anichebe, said in Abuja that the refineries’ privatisation was part of the ongoing oil sector reforms.
Earlier last week, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, told Bloomberg TV Africa in London that the country would privatise its four government-owned refineries in the first quarter of next year.
This is the second time the Federal Government is disclosing plans to privatise its refineries.
A former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, approved the sale of the refineries during his administration but the late President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007 reversed the sale of the refineries for lack of transparency in the transaction.
However, President Goodluck Jonathan in November 2012 recommended that the refineries be sold due to inadequate finances and under-performance.
Mr. Anichebe said that the privatisation plans were currently at the preliminary stage, where the blueprint of the policy would be decided.
“We are working with the NNPC and Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the privatisation of the four refineries. We are just in the preliminary discussion with them and very soon, we will make public the work plan for the privatisation processes, including the engagement of advisers to advise us on the transaction.
“Once the work plan is fine-tuned, hopefully by the end of the year or early January next year, the work plan as well as the schedule will be unveiled to all stakeholders, including the media,” he said.
Mr. Anichebe said that the privatisation would be handled in line with the usual strategy of the bureau, which was to sell a certain percentage of shares and reserve a certain percentage for the workers, host communities and Nigerians at large.
He urged Nigerians not to be apprehensive about the refineries’ sale because only capable and visionary investors would be considered in the privatisation process.
“The criteria should be that the buyers have the financial muscle and technical know-how to run these 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 said.
The BPE spokesperson also said that in 2014, the bureau would also begin the privatisation of public utilities in the housing sector, Abuja Security and Commodity Exchange Plc., as well as the country’s transportation sector.