The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has approved the commencement of the privatisation process of the Abuja Securities and Commodities Exchange (ASCE).
This is contained in a statement issued by Chigbo Anichebe, head, public communications, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), on Sunday.
It stated that a steering committee, headed by the minister of industry, trade and investments, had been formed for the privatisation process.
“A privatised ASCE would provide stable prices and a sure market for all agricultural produce locally and internationally as well as guarantee employment for millions of Nigerians and provide raw materials for industrial production.
“The constitution of the steering committee was one of the high points of the third meeting of the NCP in 2013 which held on Thursday, May 9, 2013 at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“The steering committee was set up with a view to identifying the best options for resuscitating the exchange.
“Other members of the steering committee are the coordinating minister of the economy and minister of finance; and ministers of National Planning, Agriculture & Rural Development and Communication Technology.
“Others are the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN); the director general of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the director general of the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)” , it stated.
The statement pointed out that ASCE had witnessed various operational challenges arising from inadequate equity base, impairment of shareholders’ funds arising from operating losses, lack of sector infrastructure such as standardised silos and warehouses to store commodities and generate the warehouse receipts that could be traded on the exchange.
Others are the absence of enabling laws to guide the operation of Warehousing Receipt System and the lack of patronage by private organisations and relevant government agencies.
The statement stated that after extensive deliberations, the NPC adopted core investor privatisation as the strategy for revitalising the exchange.
“The BPE has commenced work to ensure that the privatisation of ASCE is implemented in a manner that meets the objectives of the Federal Government in order for the exchange to enjoy sustainable growth and add value to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Key to the strategy is fast-tracking the passage of the Warehousing Receipt System (WRS) Bill.
Meanwhile, BPE says investors bidding for PHCN successor companies will only be allowed to takeover the companies upon 100 percent payment of their bid consideration.
This is also contained in a statement signed by BPE’s head, public communications, Chigbo Anichebe.
The agency debunked rumours that there was a secret handover of PHCN successor companies to the investors who had not completed the outstanding 75 percent payment of their respective bid considerations.
It stated that the successor companies would be formally handed over to the bidders after full payment, at a ceremony which would herald the takeover of the companies by the private sector.