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Review Privatisation Of Osogbo Steel Rolling, Nigeria Machine Tools, Stakeholders Urge FG

Review Privatisation Of Osogbo Steel Rolling, Nigeria Machine Tools, Stakeholders Urge FG
  • PublishedMarch 18, 2022


Ismaeel Uthman, Yusuf Oketola 

STAKEHOLDERS in the state of Osun have bemoaned the abandonement of Osogbo Steel Rolling and Nigeria Machine Tools, calling for the review of the privatisation of the industries.

Echoing the voice of the stakeholders, the lawmaker representing Osogbo/Olorunda/Irepodun/Orolu Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon. Olubukola Oyewo, has called for the review of the privatisation of Osogbo Steel Rolling Mills and the Nigerian Machine Tools.

Both companies and other national assets were sold to private investors by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo through the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), chaired by the former Vice-President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Oyewo who is the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, noted that due to the privatisation of the national assets, most of them, especially the Osogbo Steel Rolling Mill and the Nigerian Machine Tools have further remained moribund.

The lawmaker said this in a motion on the floor of the House of Representatives, stating that there is need to review the privatisation for the benefit of the Nigerian populace. 

He said: “Aware that without functional steel companies in Nigeria, the dream of manufacturing vehicles in the country and other machine equipment might be a mirage. 

“Further aware that the neglect of these companies which provided jobs for over 20,000 people is having a serious negative effect on the people and the economy of the nation. The sales of these companies should be reviewed on these premises.”

The lawmaker asserts that many jobless youths will find something to do if the sales of the national assets are reviewed towards optimal utilization.

In his response, the House urged the Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation to investigate the process of the privatisation of these companies. 

The House further urge the Committee to liaise with the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) with a view to work on modalities to revert the privatisation of the companies.

Senate Spokesperson, Dr Ajibola Basiru had on December 10, 2019 presented a petition by a social cultural group, Egbe Osogbo Oroki Parapo, to the Senate on the abandonment of the industries. 

Egbe Osogbo Oroki Parapo’s petition sought among many other demands, the immediate intervention of the National Assembly on the resuscitation of the two companies purportedly bought by the acclaimed Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.

The group said in the petition that since the privatization of the two companies, nothing has happened to them despite their capacity and ability to create jobs and contribute to the industrial development of the country. 

The petition signed by Engineer Maruf Bolarinwa and Elder Adewale Adewumi on behalf of the people of Osun Senatorial District prayed the Senate to revisit the Report of the Ad-hoc Committee on Privatisation during the 7th Senate and find out among other issues, why it has been “buried” over the years.

Speaking in the same direction, the pioneer president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, said the abandonment of the two companies is hindering the progress and development of Osogbo and the State of Osun.

Sunmonu, a prominent indigene of Osogbo, decried what he described as arbitrary privatisation of public assets, noting that most of the companies that were privatised have fallen into ruins. 

The labour leader who spoke with OSUN DEFENDER in a telephone interview yesterday said: “I support the call for the review of Osogbo Steel Rolling Mills and Nigeria Machine Tools. I have talked with the representatives of Osogbo at the National Assembly after a petition written by Osogbo people on the condition of the companies.

“The abandonment of those companies has resulted to loss of employment for thousands of people of Osun. It has deprived the government of Osun revenue generation from the companies and employees. It has also deprived Nigeria of production industries to create employment for the people.

“One of the instabilities we are facing in Nigeria today is because of unemployment, high rate poverty and others. 

“The questions to ask is that: are their no conditions for the privatization of the companies? It is clear that the buyers of those company have not met the conditions and if that is the case, the privatisation has to be reviewed. 

“The Nigeria Machine tool and Osogbo Still Rolling Mill are almost stripped naked. Nothing is happening there. The buyers just acquired and abandoned them. What has the buyers done to prove the new ownership of those places? The essence of privatisation is to put the companies into proper use. But that is not the case in Nigeria. Almost all the privatized companies have fallen into ruins. What are we gaining from the privatization of the power sector? Darkness!

“No country can develop without viable industries like Nigeria Machine Tools and Osogbo Steel Roling Mills. Industries guarantee productivities which will result to economic stability. Nigeria’s productivity is low because there is no industrial revolution. That is why we are where we are. 

“Nigeria would not be importing 90 per cent of materials if the government allows our industries to be functioning well. But we have ended up in giving employment to foreigners instead of employing our own people. 

“The Federal Government should look into the privatization of the Machine Tools and Osogbo Steel Rolling Mills for functionality.” 

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