Nigeria targets $1.3 bn from asset sales this year – BPE

The Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE says it expects to raise N400 billion ($1.3 bln) from asset sales this year, part of which will help finance the 2018 budget. According to the Director General, BPE, Alex Okoh, the government had finalised plans to start a post-privatisation programme for its power sector with a $1 billion credit from the World Bank to boost power distribution and transmission which had under-performed. Okoh told Reuters last week that the government has a list of 11 assets it plans this year either to sell to strategic investors or offer to private companies to lease and run on concession, ranging from power assets to sports stadiums.

Sources have also said the government plans to sell part of its stake in Nigerian Reinsurance company through an IPO in November. In 2013, Nigeria, which is plagued by blackouts, started selling parts of its moribund state electricity firm in a privatisation that was meant to improve power supplies and attract billions of dollars in new investments – neither of which happened. Okoh said the power sector was among 37 percent of privatised enterprises that have underperformed, without providing a figure on how many assets have been sold. He added that the country has attracted $7.8 billion in foreign investment into 53 privatised entities.

President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to sign the 2018 spending plan into law. Parliament approved a budget of 9.12 trillion naira, higher than the 8.61 trillion naira the government presented to lawmakers in November, after delays. Budgets under Buhari, who took office in May 2015, have been Nigeria’s largest ever. However, the country has struggled to fund its expenditure as oil prices dwindled from 2014, tipping Nigeria into a recession, which it exited last year.

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