Imoke Reconstitutes Privatization Council, Charges Members

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CALABAR, June 12, (THEWILL) - The Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke has charged members of the newly reconstituted State Privatization Council to adopt measures that will enable it out-shine the previous Council by ensuring that it identifies competent private ownership that will manage effectively its moribund assets in a manner that will make returns beneficial to the majority of the people.

While inaugurating the 9-man Council in Calabar, Thursday, Imoke said, "It is not enough that we secure private investment and conclude a deal; mechanisms must be in place to ensure that the ventures are revived and operated by buyers after privatization," adding, "indeed the real benefit of the privatization programme lies in the subsequent reactivation of the venture and creation of jobs and business opportunities."

He maintained that prudent management of Government resources, programmes and initiatives is a fundamental pillar of democratic governance, pointing that in emerging economies like Nigeria, the ethos is paramount to the survival of her democracy and compete globally.

He recalled some of the successes recorded by the past Councils with the privatization of some ventures and agricultural estates with a well structured programme which all performed better after privatization, adding, "with total investment in excess of $1 billion, employment and business opportunities generated, have provided unequivocal vindication that what we set was a bold privatization policy" and urged the Council to consolidate on that success.

"Government also expects the Council to deal with the issue of the outstanding liabilities of these ventures with the aim of ensuring that upon privatization, the new ownership is not burdened by them nor is Government to be saddled with such obligations,"Imoke pointed.

Imoke, who urged them to ensure transparency in their procurement processes which he noted is key to successful implementation of the privatization policy, maintained that "Government demands transparent and meticulous management of the privatization process to ensure optimal outcome."

Earlier, the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Fidelis Ugbo said the inauguration of the Council was borne out of Government’s desire to put in place competent crop of Cross Riverians from the private sector who will advise it on the best approach to its public private partnership initiatives to boost its economy, adding that the members who were chosen based on their track records were duly screened and found fit to serve in the Council.

In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of the Cross River State Privatization Council who is also the Legal Adviser to Governor Imoke, Mr. Attah Ochinke, who spoke on behalf of the members, expressed his appreciation on the confidence reposed in the membership of the Council and promised to work within its mandate to realize its set goals.

Members of the Council include Barr. Attah Ochinke Chairman, Mr. Takis Kaifas, Mr. Ita Ikpeme, Mr. Augustine Odey. Mrs. Grace Edet and Mr. Chris Agara as members while the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Kelly Ayamba, Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Mr. Edward Ogon, and the Special Adviser, Investment Promotion, Mr. Gerald Adah will serve as Ex-officios.