PDP Condemns ‘Last-minute’ Privatisation Drive In Rivers | Independent Newspapers Limited
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PDP Condemns ‘Last-minute’ Privatisation Drive In Rivers

Posted: May 10, 2015 at 10:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Daniel Abia, P/Harcourt


The friction between the administration of Governor Chibuike Amaechi and Governor-elect Nyesom Wike continued at the weekend with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accusing Amaechi of selling the states’ properties.

PDP alleged Saturday that it had uncovered plans by the outgoing government to sell state-owned public facilities and business ventures before May 29.

Rivers State chapter Chairman of the PDP, Felix Obuah, alleged that there were arrangements to deprive Rivers people of the Port Harcourt Flour Mills Limited, by selling off the company to Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc.

The state government owns 55 percent of Port Harcourt Flour Mills Limited, while Bayelsa State government controls 45 percent of the shares.

Obuah stated that with the arrangement between Amaechi and the management of Flour Mills of Nigeria, Rivers State has opted to “relinquish its entire 55 percent share to the private company with some benefits of the arrangement to be remitted to the private account of the out-going governor.”

“To execute this plot, the current management of the Port Harcourt Flour Mills Limited has placed all the workers on redundancy, starting from May 2015, giving spurious claims that the company is no longer viable and cannot meet its financial obligations,” Obuah said.

The PDP’s position was coming on the heels of a Save Our Souls (SOS) letter dated April 22, 2015, sent by staff of the company, denying claims that the company was incapacitated.

The Staff under the auspices of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) and the National Union of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE), had in a protest letter disclosed some deliberate management decisions aimed at creating the impression that the company was no longer viable, which made workers to proceed on compulsory leave from March 23 to April 13, 2015, with an assurance that full operations would resume thereafter.

“It was disheartening that on return from the questionable leave, the workers were asked to collect their redundancy payment, following the acclaimed depreciation in the company’s carrying-capacity.

“The staff had therefore, in the said SOS, stated that following series of such antics going on in the company, It is the unions’ opinion that the management has concluded plans with the Rivers State government to acquire the company before the end of the tenure of the out-going administration in the state’’.

The PDP also lamented that state-owned parcels of land were being shared or sold to people close to the government, adding that Amaechi was hurriedly signing illegal Certificates of Occupancy, without due process.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Chulwuma Chinye, has said that “the privatisation and commercialisation of ailing government-owned companies is a cardinal objective of any responsible government.

He said, “PH flour mill has been shut down by the management for a while now and we are looking for core investors to inject needed capital.

“Government will continue to do the business of governance until May 28. PDP should wait, the date is not far at all and government is on a continuing basis.”