President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday reaffirmed his Administration’s commitment to the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation policy.
The president stated this at an audience with Peugeot’s Executive Vice President for Africa and the Middle-East, Mr. Jean-Christophe Quemard in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari, however, stressed that greater consideration would now be given to the technical and managerial competence of prospective buyers of government-owned companies.
According to him, a higher premium will be placed on the technical competence and financial clout of bidders in future privatisation exercises to avoid the running aground of privatised companies by ill-equipped and incapable investors.
President Buhari, who was briefed on plans by Peugeot to stage a comeback to Nigeria after the collapse of the privatization of Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria Limited, noted that privatisation could only succeed and yield desired benefits “if buyers of government-owned companies possess essential skills and resources”.
In his remarks, Quemard assured President Buhari that Peugeot was ready to reinvest in vehicle assembly in Nigeria, “provided that the right indigenous partners are found”.
He also briefed the President on the company’s three-phased plan to resume vehicle assembly in Nigeria.
He said the plan was to start with 4,000 cars next year, rising up to 10,000 cars by 2021.
He said that the plan, which he urged the Federal Government to support with appropriate policies and actions, would entail higher local content in the assembly of Peugeot cars in Nigeria.
He said the plan also included the exportation of locally assembled Peugeot cars from Nigeria to neighbouring African countries.
Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria Limited which was privatised some years ago had technically reverted to government ownership with up to 85 per cent of its shares now held by the Federal Government and the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).