- As CBN, BPE sign deal on 12.4bn Shares
BY COBHAM NSA, ABUJA – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has bought over the Federal Government’s 12.4 billion shares in Nigerian Security Printing and Minting (NSPM) Company as part of efforts to promote cutting edge technology and innovation in the sector.
The transaction on the government’s shares will contribute a net sum of over N17 billion to the national treasury.
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo presided over the agreement signing between the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the CBN at a ceremony on Tuesday in Abuja.
Prof Osinbajo, who also chairs the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), described the agreement as a landmark event in the country’s privatisation journey, noting that; “this is an important event in our privatisation journey. Many, of course, will recall that in the past 30 years or so over 140 publicly-owned companies have been privatised.”
According to the Vice President, Nigeria stands to reap bountifully from the deal, stressing that; “This is, perhaps, one of the very largest that has been privatised so far. The very idea of selling public asset to credible investors is one that is fundamental to our economic philosophy.’’
He noted that security printing has assumed challenging dimensions with emerging technologies introducing new trends; new assets, new dimensions and new ideas, adding that the private sector remains the engine that can really drive cutting edge of technology and innovation in the country.
Professor Osinbajo expressed confidence that the arrangement between the CBN and the technical partners, De La Rue, is good for business, adding; “we believe that as time goes on, even better expertise will be drawn into the company.”
“And we think that this is possibly one of the best moves that have occurred, especially with respect to the National Security Printing and Minting Company”, the Vice President said
Speaking at the event, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the Mint’s productive capacity has increased and expanded with all the currency needed in the country now produced by the company.
Emefiele said the Mint’s current capacity is such that it could easily meet the production needs of other ECOWAS nations’ currencies.
The apex bank boss said; “We intend to embark on aggressive marketing to see to it that it 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.”
He further explained that with the request already granted, the next phase of operations is ensuring the Mint commences the printing of Nigerian digital passport.
“The board of the NSPM will be meeting to see what else is needed to retool this company and ensure that it performs its responsibility,” he said.
In his remarks, Director-General, BPE, Mr Alex Okoh, noted that CBN’s strategic investment in the Mint has been a success, having achieved its objective of turning around the fortunes of the company and boosting its profitability level.
Okoh, who disclosed that the deal is raking in a net sum of over N17 billion to the national treasury, acknowledged that the progress recorded by NSPM under the strategic engagement of CBN has been laudable.
He said; “Following the expiration of the strategic investment period, the CBN indicated its strong intention to acquire the company on an arm’s length basis.
“The sensitive nature of the security printing and minting services rendered by the company included immigration and electoral materials.”
The BPE boss said after carefully considering the relevant issues, a proposal was made to the NCP to formalise the sale of 21 per cent of the Federal Government’s interest in the Mint to CBN with the government retaining an equity holding of 10.1 per cent.
Okoh stated that the proposal was approved by NCP following professional advice from its financial and legal advisers, adding after series of negotiations with CBN, an agreeable deal was reached on the transaction’s terms that would engender significant growth by the Mint.