The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) yesterday signed official documents for the sale of Federal Government’s 21 per cent interest in the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC).
With the signing by CBN’s Governor Godwin Emefiele and BPE’s Director-General Alex Okoh, the 12.4 billion shares held by government have been transferred to the apex bank.
Speaking at the event, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Chairman of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) pointed out that the move was to engender partnerships between the public and private sectors in complex projects that require cutting-edge technology.
He said: “Security printing has taken new dimensions; it is no longer what it used to be. As a matter of fact, there are those who think today that there is more of technology than mere security printing.
“If you look at some of the cards that are being printed today, the chips are not just security, they are actually technological assets. So, there are new assets and dimensions as well as new ideas. And it’s just the private sector that can really provide the cutting-edge technology and innovation.”
Osinbajo said over 140 publicly-owned companies have been privatised in the last 30 years, adding that government’s divestment of its interest in the firms was to inject the needed expertise to run them.
“Government should stick to its regulatory and incentivising roles and allow the private sector to do business and take the risk where possible,” he stated.
According to him, the CBN and its technical partner, De La Rue, the private company in the deal, would bring an innovative edge to bear on NSPMC.
Emefiele, however, noted that the Mint was an asset with a capacity to produce currency for not just Nigeria but also for the entire West African region as well as generate sensitive security documents for government and private companies.
Okoh, on his part, submitted that CBN’s strategic investment in the company was a success, as it had turned around the fortunes of the company by returning it to profitability.
He disclosed that the deal would contribute a net sum of over N17 billion to the treasury.