By Chris Chimezie
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has commended the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), for actualising the privatisation and commercialisation policy of the Federal Government.
The governor gave the commendation during a courtesy visit by the executive members of the Bureau led by its Director-General, Mr Alex Okoh to the Governor’s office in Akure.
Akeredolu who was particularly happy that the BPE Director General sheds light on the ownership structure of the Nigerian Romanian Wood Industries, (NIROWI), by making known the percentage holdings of its three owners, said the elucidation has corrected the misconceptions that NIROWI was wholly owned by the Ondo State Government.
“Our people now know the stake of Ondo State in NIROWI. It’s as if NIROWI it is owned by Ondo State, whereas it is only 8.9 percent we own. We are minority shareholder” he said.
Arakunrin Akeredolu who said NIROWI was already moribund, revealed that a formal request would soon be made to the Federal Government for the donation of its shares in NIROWI to the State Government.
“There is nothing left in the company except the land. Paying for the shares of the Federal Government in the company will be tantamount to buying nothing. It’s therefore better for the shares to be donated to us.
“I want to beg the Federal Government to let us have the land back. fourty nine hectares of land is not something we can toy with. The land may not be for another wood processing company but it will definitely be put into productive use,” he said.
Earlier, the BPE Director General, Mr Alex Okoh had stated that the Romanian Government had 30.9 percent of the total holdings in NIROWI, while the Nigerian Government had 30.1percent and 30.9 percent for Beeb Holdings Limited a private investor, and the Ondo State Government had 8.9 percent.
He explained that the company stopped operations due to cash flow constraints which resulted into being moribund and the eventual exit of FOREXIM of Romania, the Technical Partners.
“On August 23, the National Council on Privatization, decided to consider Ondo State for the acquisition of the Federal Government shares in the company with a proviso that the asset be valued.
“The valuation got a preliminary figure of ₦1.1 to ₦1.2 billion, relating to landed asset as the equipment are worth next to nothing.
“The Ondo State Government may consider acquiring those shares for commensurate value or plead that the shares be donated to it. Whichever one the state desires, a formal request has to be made to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and approval” the DG said.
Nigerian-Romanian Wood Industries Limited, NIROWI, Ondo was a joint venture project between the Federal Government of Nigeria , Beeb Holdings Limited, and Ondo State Government.
The company was incorporated in 1974 but, started operation in 1979 with an initial equity capital of N7,000,000.00.
NIROWI was planned to be an integrated wood processing company in Forest Exploitation, Sawmilling, Plywood factory, Veneer factory, Furniture factory and Particle board factory.