Time To Cleanse The Rot In BPE

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The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), since its inception, has proved to be part of the corruption in the Nigerian system that is making governance in the country look dirty. But, somehow, it has managed to escape the searchlight of the security agencies because of the connivance of some highly placed personalities outside the Bureau who consistently use it to appropriate the nation’s assets.

Otherwise, there is no way anyone can, meaningfully, explain the latest of such deals that has ended up discrediting the nation as unserious in the management of its own affairs. The BPE is reported to be involved in a shady deal with a Canadian firm, Manitoba Hydro International Nigeria Ltd, in which Nigeria was short-changed to the tune of $3.3 billion.

According to reports, 10 National Integrated Power Projects’ (NIPP) assets of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in which the federal government had invested $8.5 billion, were sold to Manitoba at a give-away price of $5.2 billion without relevant consultations with higher authorities. This deal, which is now a subject of investigation by the Senate, draws attention to the not too responsible acts of profligacy by revenue generating agencies of the federal government, in this instance, the BPE.

There are allegations of insider dealings between BPE and Manitoba which industry watchers consider extremely deplorable and for which the Bureau must be held accountable. More importantly, it brings to the fore past acts of connivance and even collusion involving BPE in its frenzied haste to give the nation’s assets away in the guise of privatisation which has, in most cases, led to the death of the enterprises so privatised because the new buyers end up indulging in asset – stripping in utter violation of the terms of the deal; and the BPE and its management, having earlier soiled their hands, look the other way, shamelessly.

There is no way, in our view, that the decision of BPE to make the government lose a whopping $3.3 billion can be justified. If anything, it is proof of deliberate leakage in the revenue generation processes of the government which must be condemned by well- meaning Nigerians and institutions including the Senate.

In our opinion, the senate should not continue to wonder why the BPE handed TCN over to a foreign firm at a loss of $3.3 billion. The legislative body should not, also, lament that despite this bargain price, Manitoba is not adding value to the power sector. Why should it when it has paid off those whose duty it is to monitor their activities?

Instead of getting itself in this pastime of self-recrimination, what the Senate must do and urgently too, is to investigate all the privatisation procedures of BPE and it will be discovered that that Bureau has, indeed, ripped off Nigeria.

The amount involved in this Manitoba deal ($3.3 billion), can come in handy to an administration that is as cash-strapped as the one currently in place. We should not even begin to imagine the number of barrels of crude oil that will be sold to generate this money one stinking agency lost in one deal.

We had, severally, on this page, expressed our discomfiture that the Muhammadu Buhari administration, in its war on corruption is, seemingly, not paying due attention to the rot in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Maybe, the BPE is the place to start from because it surely needs intense fumigation.

Culled from: http://leadership.ng/opinions/editorial/496662/time-cleanse-rot-bpe

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