The Nigerian National Council on Privatization (NCP) Thursday announced that all companies who were offered prospecting licenses to explore coal resources in the country have been given a one-month ultimatum to begin work on their sites or lose their operational licences.
The second meeting of the national privatisation council held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, and chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo, also directed the nation’s privatisation agency, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), to work earnestly towards ensuring the completion of the out of court negotiation between the federal government and the management of the Global Holdings Limited, the firm that bought over the Nigerian Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited with a view to fast tracking its privatization process.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, and his Mines and Steel Development counterpart, Alhaji Mohammed Musa Sada, told journalists at the end of the meeting that the federal government was not happy at the way many of the over 12 coal bloc awardees have held onto the licences like land speculators instead of mining coal or relinquishing the licences to more serious explorers.
The NCP lamented that the situation has starved many industrial firms of the much-needed locally-produced coal to run their power plants which they have converted to coal-powered plants, and have therefore resorted to the importation of coal.
Last year, notice was given to the bloc owners to explain their lack of readiness to utilise the licences. The period of grace has since lapsed with some of them making untenable excuses.