Mr Peter Odey, member representing Ogoja state constituency in the Cross River House of Assembly on Wednesday called for privatisation of the moribund state-owned industries for greater productivity and increased income generation.
Odey, also the House Leader made the call on the floor of the House.
According to him, government had failed to manage the state’s industries and enterprises effectively.
He opined that if privatised, the industries would become optimally productive.
“Go to the garment factory, it is not yielding anything for the state, we are all aware of the case of Tinappa Business and Leisure Resort and how that enterprise died.
“Transcorp, Unicem and Flower Mill were all privatised, today they are all doing well.
“The House should set up a privatisation council to advise it on how to go about the privatisation of the cocoa factory, the rice seedling factory, Calapharm and other newly created industries by the governor of the state.
“The state should seek core investors who specialise in different areas to invest in the industries in the state where they have expertise in.
“We must start looking beyond 2023, what if the next administration comes into power and does not follow the blueprint of this present administration?
“It means all the monies invested in these industries are gone,’’ he said.
In his contribution, Mr Friday Okpechi, member representing Obubura 1 Constituency and co-sponsor of the motion, urged the House to be ready to accommodate criticisms on the matter under discourse.
Okpechi noted that there was likely going to be backlash of criticism that the House members were planning to sell government establishments to themselves.
He nonetheless maintained his argument that it was important to privatise the industries in the state for optimum productivity as many of them had become moribund.
“Today, Water Board is not running the way it should because government business is no man’s business, hence, we see the lackadaisical attitude of people.
“We will have a lot of stones thrown at us for the privatisation of the industries in the state, but I strongly believe that if this House align with the executive to privatise these ventures, it will be of immense benefit to the state.’’
Other members of the House in their contributions in support of the motion, said all over the world, government does not do business, but only created policies and the enabling environment that allowed businesses to thrive.
The lawmakers urged the state government to take a second look at the privatisation law passed in the state in 2001 and commence effective privatisation of industries in the state to raise money to cater for social amenities.
The, however, warned that if industries in the state would be privatised, it should be done with sincerity of purpose and honesty.
Speaker of the Assembly, Eteng Williams said that some of the structures penciled for construction could not be actualised due to dwindling revenue of the state.
“The Garment Factory alone takes between N18 million and N20 million monthly to maintain and pay salaries, yet the state is not getting anything from it.
“There is the need for us to act now because when this government leaves in 2023, what will be left for our children?
“The House Committee on privatisation has a lot of work to do in looking into this issue and bringing out recommendations on how these industries would be effectively privatised to benefit the state,’’ he said.
Special Committee report on the crisis in the Department of Public Transport (DOPT) was put on hold because the matter was in court.
Meanwhile, the House has proceeded on a one-month recess which commenced on Wednesday.