Publisher: University of Calabar

Performance of Public Enterprises In Nigeria and The Privatization Option

Agabi, Paul Tsunabavyon, Orokpo, Ogbole F.e
KEYWORDS: Commercialization, Capitalization, Flexibilization, Parastatals, Public Enterprises, Privatization.

ABSTRACT:

Over the years, Public enterprises have been adjudged to be a critical prerequisite for the development of any nation. All nations that are among the league of developed nations today regarded as world powers, have achieved certain development feats via the establishment of these enterprises. Nigeria was no exception in terms of the belief that the state and public enterprises have a role to play in the country’s development efforts. The government in conjunction with the private sector, mostly foreign, was directly involved in areas ranging from the production of food stuffs to assembling cars. In recent years, privatization of public enterprises has preoccupied policy analysts in the search for solutions to improve the performance of state-owned enterprises. Several developing countries including most African countries have embarked upon extensive privatization programme within the framework of macroeconomic reform and liberation, revising the earlier strategy of using public enterprises as engine of economic development. It is believed that the performance of Nigerian enterprises were compromised in many instances leading to inefficient utilization of resources by public enterprises coupled with heavy dependent on the national treasury for financial operations and their activities characterized by mismanagement of funds and operations, endemic corruption, misuse of monopoly power and bureaucratic suffocation from supervisory ministries and its inability to enhance the social and economic well-being of the people which no doubt placed government under tremendous pressure to initiate various economic reforms with privatization as one of such reform programme as panacea to public enterprises quagmire. It is against this backdrop that the paper attempts to x-ray the performance of public enterprises within the premise of the privatization and recommends among others the need for government to be more transparent and cautious in the exercise so as to avoid exploiting the masses by some few capitalists.

Over the years, Public enterprises have been adjudged to be a critical prerequisite for the development of
any nation. All nations that are among the league of developed nations today regarded as world powers,
have achieved certain development feats via the establishment of these enterprises. Nigeria was no
exception in terms of the belief that the state and public enterprises have a role to play in the country’s
development efforts. The government in conjunction with the private sector, mostly foreign, was directly
involved in areas ranging from the production of food stuffs to assembling cars. In recent years,
privatization of public enterprises has preoccupied policy analysts in the search for solutions to improve
the performance of state-owned enterprises. Several developing countries including most African
countries have embarked upon extensive privatization programme within the framework of
macroeconomic reform and liberation, revising the earlier strategy of using public enterprises as engine of
economic development. It is believed that the performance of Nigerian enterprises were compromised in
many instances leading to inefficient utilization of resources by public enterprises coupled with heavy
dependent on the national treasury for financial operations and their activities characterized by
mismanagement of funds and operations, endemic corruption, misuse of monopoly power and
bureaucratic suffocation from supervisory ministries and its inability to enhance the social and economic
well-being of the people which no doubt placed government under tremendous pressure to initiate
various economic reforms with privatization as one of such reform programme as panacea to public
enterprises quagmire. It is against this backdrop that the paper attempts to x-ray the performance of public
enterprises within the premise of the privatization and recommends among others the need for
government to be more transparent and cautious in the exercise so as to avoid exploiting the masses by
some few capitalists.


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