By Patrick Aigbokhan
As part of the post privatization monitoring programme of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Alex Okoh, Director General of the Bureau, recently paid a courtesy visit to the Skyway Aviation Handling Company Limited, (SAHCOL).
Okoh, who was accompanied on the visit by Baba Mohammed, Director of Capital Market, BPE and received by Rizwan Kadri, Managing Director of SAHCOL and the Management staff at the company headquarters, stated that the purpose of the visit was to applaud SAHCOL for a job well done so far, and to seek whether it is ripe to give SAHCOL a clean bill of health, in order to present a discharge certificate to the company, so as to be completely off the monitoring of BPE.
The DG expressed delight that the initial briefing he had was that the SAHCOL facilities were ‘world class’, and that he was not expecting much as the term was usually used loosely.
He however, said after the inspection that what he saw after the inspection truly matches the description of “world class”, hence, quite pleased.
In a statement signed by Basil Agboarumi, General Manager, Corporate Communications & IT, SAHCOL, Okoh was quoted as saying that SAHCOL is one of their success story so far, and hence will want to understand the dynamics behind the success, and perhaps be able to replicate it in BPE’s future privatization and transactions.
“Essentially we want you to know that we are quite pleased with the progress SAHCOL has made so far, which goes to justify the principles of privatization,” the BPE boss said.
The Director General uncovered the reason behind Federal Government privatization exercise, stressing that the Federal Government, as part of the effort to put action to the general notion that the government has no business in business, enacted a law in 1999, known as the Public Enterprise Act, to identify certain government enterprises which needed to be privatized and handed over to the private sector.
This, according to the DG, is to ensure that the efficiency of the services rendered by these enterprises are improved upon, and also to stop the bleeding in terms of the pressure that these enterprise that were not fully efficient were putting on the treasury of the federation.
Okah said, “Nigerian Airways was one of the enterprises that was identified to be privatized, while others cuts across various sectors. Incidentally, SAHCOL was one of the subsidiaries of Nigeria Airways that was slated for privatization, and this was because of the realization that Ground Handling as an aviation services will be best managed by private sector led initiative.
“The transaction method observed and chosen for the particular privatization of SAHCOL was full privatization, so as to heighten the level of services rendered, given the international benchmark, but in some of the other enterprise sold, government has held some stake essentially in order to direct the strategic services that are provided to the public space.”
Reinforcing the essence of his visit to SAHCOL, Alex Okoh emphasized that, what BPE tries to do, especially for the fully privatized companies like SAHCOL “is to keep monitoring the performances of the level of services rendered, given the international best practices that have to be met, to ensure that they meet the critical objectives of privatization in the first place.”
“SAHCOL is a good story, as all the privatized companies have not been successful, because in some of the fully privatized entity, what you find is that some of the services that they were supposed to render are not being rendered, essentially running fowl of the objectives of the whole exercise,” he said, expressing delight that for what he has seen so far the Bureau is so impressed.
He congratulated SAHCOL for a job well done so far, while disclosing that BPE will also be looking at possibility of SAHCOL listing some of its shares in the stock market in the future.
SAHCOL was handed over to the Sifax Group in December 2009, after its successful privatization by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Within this period, SAHCOL has invested in personnel development, purchase of modern equipment, infrastructural development and good customer services, which has helped reposition the company to meet the expectations and needs of its growing list of clientele.
SAHCOL, which is an excellent example of a very successful government privatization, is an Aviation Ground Handling company, offering services in Passenger Handling, Ramp Handling, Cargo Handling and Warehousing, Aviation security, Baggage Reconciliation, Crew Bus and Executive Lounge services and other related Ground Handling services; while ensuring that Ground Handling assignment is carried out in an efficient, speedy and safe manner, by deploying appropriate tools.