By Dipo Olowookere
The restructuring and recapitalisation of the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) has been approved by the National Council on Privatisation (NCP).
“The restructuring of the BOA is in alignment with the Government’s desire to make financing options readily available to farmers for an aggressive diversification of the Nigerian economy,” the council stated.
The body, chaired by the Vice President, Mr Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), also approved the commencement of the privatisation of Afam Power plants 1-5 to inject additional power into the national grid and improve electricity nationwide.
At the meeting, under the chairmanship of Mr Osinbajo, the council reviewed the proposals presented by its Secretariat, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) for the reform and restructuring of various sectors of the economy.
These decisions were taken during the meeting of the NCP, which is the highest decision making body on policies relating to the privatisation and commercialisation policies of the Federal Government, on August 22 and 23, 2017 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Also at the meeting, the council approved the pursuit of an out-of-court settlement involving the privatisation of Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON).
The move aims to resolve the lingering dispute between the Federal Government, BFIG and United Company RUSAL through the mediation of the Secretariat with the active collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
The council advised that “the mediation efforts should take a holistic view of the entire sector and the overriding national interests to jumpstart industrial development through the steel sector in arriving at a resolution on the matter.”
Furthermore, the council approved the immediate revocation of the concession of the Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, and the immediate commencement of a fresh privatisation of Yola Electricity Distribution Company.
These approvals, the council noted, were aimed at giving traction to key infrastructure facilities in the country that are presently under concessions, but have been adjudged to be performing sub-optimally.
Other key decisions taken by the council include the approval of the amendments to the Work Plan for the conclusion of the transaction involving the concessioning of Terminal “B” Warri Old Port.
It further stated that it approved the immediate commencement of the reform and commercialisation of the River Basins Development Authorities to revitalise the irrigation and river basin potentials for agricultural purposes.
Similarly, to harness the nation’s untapped tourism potential, the council approved the partial commercialisation of the National Parks using three key national parks as pilot projects.
In April 2017, Minister of State for Agriculture, Mr Heineken Lokpobiri, at the inaugural harvest of a Tilapia from a fish farm belonging to Premium Aquaculture Limited, Oyan Dam in Abeokuta, Ogun State, disclosed that the Federal Government would recapitalise the bank to the tune of N3 trillion in order to enable farmers in the country to have access to funds at affordable interest rates.
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