Reps investigate closure of newsprint firm after sale
By; Iyokpo Egbodo, Abuja.
The House of Representatives yesterday directed its committee on Privatization and Commercialization to investigate the Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company (NNMC) closure after it was sold.
Hon. Henry Archibong in a motion adopted by the House explained that the newsprint company was sold by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) to Negris Holdings Limited in 2008 at the price of N4.02 billion.
The House mandated to among other things, examine the seemingly flawed processes of valuation, liquidation and sale of the company, alleging that it failed to comply with the provisions of the BPE Act, while also calling on the federal government to formulate a blueprint with a view to taking over the company from Negris Holdings Limited, for violation of legal conditions that backed the sale, and reactivate the company for the purpose of job creation.
Also, the federal ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment, and Labour and Productivity have been urged to partner with the Akwa Ibom State Government and take advantage of the state government’s readiness to ensure full commercial operations of the company.
The lawmaker said after the sale of the company to an indigenous company named Oku-Iboku Pulp and Paper Limited (OKIPP) in 2008, the company “claimed that it carried out and pass all environmental safety standards required for smooth take-off of the Newsprint Company.”
He said Negris Holdings glaringly lack financial capacity “to resuscitate the newsprint company, resulting in its continued shutdown despite promises that by early 2013, it would have commenced full operations.
“The violation of legal requirement on the principle of guided liquidation, and failure to rehabilitate the newsprint company and get it into full commercial operations by Negris Holdings Limited before the expiration of the five-year moratorium from the date of sale is a ground for revocation of the sale of Negris Holdings Limited”.