25 October 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Despite the drop in electricity generation from 5000 to less than 3000 megawatts, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, expressed the hope that Nigeria can still meet its 7000 megawatts electricity generation target by 2017.
Osinbajo revealed that the Federal Government is currently working on about nine critical transmission projects across the country – all to enable it to achieve that set target of 7,000 megawatts electricity generation for the country.
A statement from the Office of the Vice President sent to our correspondent noted that Osinbajo was speaking during a speech preceding his declaring open, the 8th Session of the National Council of Industry, Trade and Investment (NCITI), in Abeokuta, Ogin State.
Osinbajo expressed the confidence that the work on the critical transmissions projects would be completed by the first quarter of the year 2017.
According to him, the Buhari-led federal government is equally working on increasing gas supplies to the power stations to enhance increase power supply throughout the country.
He lamented that the power generation which had risen to 5000 megawatts by January this year, dropped to about 2500 megawatts following vandalisation of gas pipelines and destruction of other national economic assets in the Niger Delta by militants but said the government is working to address the issue.
He explained that the efforts are manifestations of federal government’s recognition of the importance of infrastructure to re-jigging the economy back to competitiveness.
Osinbajo, who also identified poor transportation system across the country as another challenge against economic recovery, disclosed that federal government was already working on the Lagos/Kano; Lagos/Calabar rail transportation system in a way that would further contribute to revamping the economy.
The Vice President further hinted that the federal government is already encouraging a privately owned oil refinery firm in the country which would refine 650, 000 b/d towards easing the petroleum products’ supply and accessibility in Nigeria.
According to him, when the privately owned refinery project is completed, Nigeria would be saving about 30 percent of the amount it spends on the importation of refined crude into the country.
In the area of technology, Osinbajo explained that Nigeria is building six technology hubs across the six geo-political zones of the country including the two mega technology hub in Lagos and Kano states.
He explained that there had been over 4, 000 entries out of which the federal government would select 30 that are viable and visible for sponsorship.
Osinbajo said, “Global competitiveness is crucial to our growth. We simply need to be competitive. It is crucial to trade more and produce more, we simply need to increase productivity not just in farming but also in manufacturing, but in order to increase productivity.
“There are so many issues that we need to address, we need to reduce transaction cost, the cost of doing business in Nigeria and of course we need to simply focus more on made in Nigeria. We simply have to do a lot more in terms of improving our infrastructure and in 2016 budget and also in 2017 budget which is about ready, focused more on investment in infrastructure.
“For example, we are doing a lot more in the area of power. I am sure that many of us probably follow that in February 2016 we were producing 5,000mw of power which is the highest in the history of the country.”
The Vice President regretted that “with vandalisation of the Forcados terminal and three, four other export terminals, we found ourselves down to almost 2500mw of power again, but a substantial investment in the power sector will certainly be key in improving our productivity.
“As we go forward and we are doing quite a bit in material and many of us are familiar with some of the efforts made in improving transmission about eight or nine critical transmission projects which we expect to be completed by the first quarter of 2017. And this will substantially increase the general output,” he added.
According to him, “We are also looking at being able to supply gas to several idle federal plants. These are some of the plants that are idle because they simply don’t have enough gas. With a lot of what is going on especially, we are trying to get gas from some of the sources that hitherto had been lying idle , we think that we will be able to do far more and our 7,000mw target is achievable.
“Of course, a lot of this depends on peace in Niger Delta, a lot will depend whether we are able to ensure that vandalisation stops in the Niger Delta on both oil and gas facilities.”
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah identified areas through which Federal Government via the National Council of Industry, Trade, and Investment, planned to diversify and grow the nation’s economy.
Enelamah said the three pillars of the policy framework of are the creation of a business-friendly environment, ensuring coherence between monetary, fiscal and structural reform policies and provision of hard and soft infrastructure for growth.
According to him the economic policies of the government are coordinated and targeted at the common purpose of structural transformation to diversify and eliminate distortions and sustained growth.
“Some of the priority areas of the MITI plan include: Creating an Enabling Environment to Improve the Ease-of-Doing Business; implementing the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP); providing support for Micro- Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to enhance job creation; promoting Trade and investment as engines for growth; and promoting a digital economy
“President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of the Presidential Council on Ease-of Doing Business (PEBES). The Council is being chaired by the Vice-President and the Secretariat of the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) is being set-up. Implementation is underway,” he said.