Every privatised public entity must have S/Leonean interest


…NCP Chairman avers

December 5, 2018

By Joseph S. Margai in Beijing

NCP Chairman, Umaru Napoleon Koroma Esq., in Beijing recently

Chairman, National Commission of Privatisation (NCP), who also doubles as the National Secretary General of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Umaru Napoleon Koroma, has assured all Sierra Leoneans that every public entity that is privatized  must have Sierra Leonean interest.

The NCP chairman, who was speaking to Concord Times in an exclusive interview in China’s capital city of Beijing, on Friday, 30th November, 2018, also said the “New Direction” administration will ensure that the monies generated by those public entities will rotate within the country for the betterment of all Sierra Leoneans.

“When I took over as the chairman, few months ago, I firstly looked at the NCP Act of 2002, the commission’s mandates, and I also decided to look at the experiences I have accumulated over the years, to bring some positive transformations to the commission,” he recalled.

As a lawyer by profession, who does lot of corporate practices, Napoleon said he looked at the commission from a purely business perspective and said to himself that if government has placed these various public entities under the NCP, they should yield dividend.

“According to the NCP Act of 2002, where privatisation is not possible at the time, the commission has a mandate to provide oversight, manage and regulate these public entities. Government established them to make profit which will be used to develop the state, and if they are not making profits, there are questions to ask and be answered,” he said.

He told Concord Times that he called on most of the heads of public entities and had a very clear discussion on what the commission wishes to undertake to make it vibrant and more proactive.

He noted that in that meeting, he talked about redefining the roles of the institutions and to live within the lines of the “New Direction” policy, which particularly talks about providing discipline leadership, and delivering services in the interest of the people.

“One of the activities we have undertaken was to replace the management of some of the public enterprises. We brought in people with specific mandate to positively turn around things in those institutions. Such actions have  brought steady improvement in those public enterprises. Most of them now understand that the next financial year, they should start to make profit and pay dividend to the government,” he said.

He revealed that he has told the new managements that government was not going to subsidise or put money into those enterprises.

 “They have to generate their own revenue to take care of themselves to survive whilst the government is looking for strategic partners to come and invest in those public enterprises by extending them so that they could make more profit for the people of Sierra Leone,” he added.

The NCP Chair continued that every privatization they do must be in the interest of the general good, assuring the public that where there was going to be a foreign interest into some of those public enterprises, the government will make sure that it retains some amount of interests.

 “It’s not a matter of saying that we are going to take all of them and put them in the hands of different people to run them. But we will ensure that every deal done must benefit the people,” he noted.

He recalled that the NCP over the years had taken actions to concession most of the operations of the port to private companies, saying that such action has seen a very massive improvement in terms of service delivering of these companies.

“Although some people will argue that the costs of the services rendered by those companies at the port are a little bit higher, but the delivering of the needed services has been very much effective and efficient. These companies are still expanding. Recently, the government launched the new port expansion project done by Bollore company, wherein they invested huge sums of money for that purpose,” he said.

He revealed that the port can now take in more vessels with the clearing time for containers increased considerably because of the new investment that the company has done.

The NCP chairman said the government will continue to look for such strategic investment in order to improve services, provide jobs for the people of Sierra Leone, and subsequently bring in revenue to the government.