President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja reaffirmed his Administration’s commitment to the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialization policy.
The president stated this when he received in audience, Peugeot’s Executive Vice President for Africa and the Middle-East, Mr. Jean-Christophe Quemard, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Buhari stressed, however, that greater consideration will now be given to the technical and managerial competence of prospective buyers of government-owned companies.
A statement signed by his Senior Special Adviser (Media), Malam Garba Shehu, the president said that a higher premium will be placed on the technical competence and financial clout of bidders in future privatization exercises to avoid the running aground of privatized companies by ill-equipped and incapable investors.
Buhari, who spoke after being briefed on plans by Peugeot to stage a comeback to Nigeria after the collapse of the privatization of Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria Limited, noted that privatization could only succeed and yield desired benefits if buyers of government-owned companies possess essential skills and resources.
In his remarks, Mr. Quemard assured President Buhari that Peugeot was ready to reinvest in vehicle assembly in Nigeria, provided that the right indigenous partners are found.
The Peugeot Chief Executive for Africa and the Middle-East briefed Mr. Buhari on the company’s three-phased plan to resume vehicle assembly in Nigeria with 4,000 cars next year, rising up to 10,000 cars by 2021.
He said that the plan, which he urged the Federal Government to support with appropriate policies and actions, will entail higher local content in the assembly of Peugeot cars in Nigeria and the exportation of locally assembled Peugeot cars from Nigeria to neighbouring African countries.
It would be recalled that Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria (PAN) Limited, which was privatized some years ago, has technically reverted to government ownership with up to 85 per cent of its shares now held by the Federal Government and the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON)