Nigerian govt sells N12.69bn printing, minting shares to CBN, BPE

Nigerian govt sells N12.69bn printing, minting shares to CBN, BPE
September 18 18:39 2018

By Ahmed Idris

The federal government on Tuesday finalised process of selling its 21 per cent shares in the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) valued at N12.69 billion to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE).

The formal signing of the instrument of the transfer was witnessed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa. The instrument was signed by the Governor or Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and the Director-General of the BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh.

Speaking at the event, Osinbajo, who is the Chairman of the National Council on Privatization (NCP), said divesting 21 per cent public interest in the NSPMC was to bring synergies that could come from public and private, especially in complex projects that require cutting-edge technology.

“Security printing has taken new dimensions, it is no longer what it used to be. As a matter of fact, there are those who think that today there is more of technology than merely security printing.

“If you look at some of the cards that are being printed today, that in the chips are not just security they are actually technological assets. So, there new assets and there new dimensions and there are new ideas and it’s just the privates sector that can really be at the cutting edge of technology and innovation,” he said.

He said over 140 publicly-owned companies have been privatised in the past 30 years, stressing that government’s divestment of its interest in the companies was to bring in the needed expertise to run them.

“Government should stick to its regulatory role and its incentivizing role and allow the private sector to do business, allow the private sector to take the risk where possible,” he said.

The Vice President said the CBN and its technical partner, De La Rue, who is the private company in the deal, would bring in the innovative edge in the NSPMC.

In his remarks, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the NSPMC is an asset with the capacity to produce currency and other sensitive security documents for not just Nigeria but the West African region.

“The capacity of the mint has increased and expanded and it now produces all the currency that is needed in the country. The mint capacity has been expanded to where it has idle capacity that can produce of other ECOWAS countries.

“We intend to embark on aggressive marketing to see to it that not only produces for itself but also produces for other important stakeholders that may require its services in the area of currency printing.

“In the area of security document, we are working assiduously given the fact that the mint was in the past produced passports and produced visas and other very sensitive security documents. Our next phase is to see to it that the NSPMC eventually begins the printing of the digital Nigerian passport,” he said.

Also speaking, Director General of BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh, said CBN’s strategic investment in the company was a success, achieving its objective of turning around the fortunes of the company and returning it to profitability.