The Federal Government on Monday said it is targeting 7,000 megawatts power generation, to boost the nation’s economy.
This was stated by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while declaring open the eighth edition of the National Council on Industry, Trade and Investment with the theme “Diversification of the Nigerian economy from over dependence on oil exports,” held at the Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta.
The four – day event had in attendance commissioners of trade, commerce and investment from the 36 states of the federation and other stakeholders.
He said this could be achievable if there was restoration of peace in the Niger-Delta area, describing power as a critical sector to national development.
The VP noted that the country lacked enough gas supply to achieve power generation, due to the challenge of vandalism in the area.
He said, “Our 7,000 MW target is achievable; of course a lot of this depends on peace in the Niger Delta.
“A lot depends on whether we are able to ensure that vandalisation stops in Niger Delta on both oil and gas facilities.
“The liquidity issue or value chain for those who are familiar with the power sector, of course you know that the problems generally are generation, transmission and distribution.
“At the moment, a lot of debt is owed across the entire value chain and that is preventing further investments in that sector. But we are working very closely with the Central Bank of Nigeria to try and improve liquidity in the micro-value chain and ensure that more private investments come into the sector.
“We are doing a lot more in the area of power. I’m sure that many of us followed in February 2016, we were producing 5,000 megawatts of power which is the highest ever in the history of the country. But with the vandalisation of the Forcados terminal and four other export terminals, we found ourselves back to 2,500MW.”
He added that about eight or nine transmission projects are expected to be completed by 2017, reiterating that substantial investment of the power sector would certainly be a key in driving the economy.
In his welcome address, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, said Nigerians must be agent of change by promoting the country in good light as regards investment.
Enelamah pointed out that the country is not a tough environment to do business.
“The global perception is that this country is a tough environment in which to do business. We must change this negative perception. Positive perceptions will attract investors, capital, technology and best practices,” he added.
He noted that this had to be achieved with the support of all state governments.
While the Senate Committee chairman on Industry, Dr Sam Egwu, explained that Nigeria found itself in the present economic crisis because of its largely dependence on mono -economy.
He also corroborated the position of Osinbajo on the need to stabilise power, improve agricultural sector and promotion of locally made goods.
The host governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, appealed to the Federal Government to jerk up the revenue allocation accrued to the state, based on its position as the industrial hub of the country.