THE Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Benjamin Ezra Dikki, has warned that the non-passage of Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) is locking out investments that could grow the economy and create jobs.
Dikki stated this while receiving a team from the World Bank, led by Guillemette Jaffrin, who paid him a courtesy visit.
According to him, the Federal Government is currently working on the reforms of sports, hospitality and tourism, river basins, housing and road sectors. He added that five bills in the transport sector were presented to the 7th National Assembly for enactment. He lamented that the five bills, with three others, were not passed before the end of that parliament. He, however, expressed hope that the 8th National Assembly would pass the bills when presented again by the executive arm.
He explained that, once the bills are passed, other new regulatory agencies would be set up, while the existing ones would be restructured. The passage of the bills, he said, would facilitate private sector investment in infrastructure like railways, roads and inland waterways. “This will relieve the Federal Government from investing in these sectors and free resources for the change Nigerians yearn for,” he added.
On the sports sector, the BPE boss said that, given the huge population of 160 million Nigerian sports enthusiasts, a lot of potentials abound in the sector, which, if well harnessed, would be a veritable income earner for the country like in Britain and other countries.
Dikki also called for the urgent reform of education in Nigeria to ensure enforcement of standards at the primary and secondary levels, noting that, there are regulatory institutions for tertiary education like the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) among others, to ensure the enforcement of standards, but this is lacking at the primary and secondary levels.
He said the lack of regulation at these levels has resulted in falling standards at the foundation level of education in the country. The BPE boss attributed the incidence of crime and other anti-social behaviours plaguing the country to the falling standards of education at the primary secondary levels. “It is disheartening that students finish secondary schools and cannot read or write properly,” he stated.
Dikki said the bureau was hamstrung to undertake reforms initiatives at the primary and secondary levels of education because of constitutional provisions.
“What at present obtains is that the Federal Government controls only the tertiary institutions in the country, while the states and local government areas control secondary and primary education. And until we bring the primary and secondary levels under a regulatory regime that enforces uniform standards across the nation, the decline in standards will continue. Schools that do not meet the standards and waste the formative years of our youths should be closed,” he stated.