The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government is discussing with stakeholders on ways to restructure Nigeria’s power sector with a view to improving supply and attracting more investment to the country. Osinbajo stated this in Abuja on Tuesday at a Breakfast Meeting of the Lagos Business School.
He expressed the Federal Government’s commitment to creating “a willing buyer, willing seller” situation in the power sector market.
According to Osinbajo, the same old ways where Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) controlled territory that they could not service cannot continue.
“I think that what the Distribution Companies will argue, and what also we have to accept, is that we really have to have a cost-effective tariff one way or the other.
“The way it has worked in the experiments we have seen and what we have done is, for example, what we call the energising economies projects that we have done where we have enabled private power in markets,” he said.
The vice president noted that private power projects had been executed at the Sabon Gari Market in Kano; the Ariaria Market in Aba; the Sura Market in Lagos; and in Ondo. He said that the arrangements enabled the private power supplier to provide power to shop owners and businesses at an agreed cost-effective tariff.
Osinbajo observed that the current regulatory framework of the power sector in the country had to take into consideration the effective model of power supply. “I think the current regulatory structure just has to accommodate the realities and we have got to make sure that we move ahead, otherwise we are going to have ourselves – as we are at the moment – regulating 4,000 megawatts of power for the next four years, which obviously is a disaster. “We can’t sit here complaining about some people, who are complaining about power and saying we should cancel the licences of people who are providing power. “It’s not going to work.” The vice president further said that the Federal Government was also working to attract more investment to the gas sector.
On industrialisation, he said government was planning to develop Special Economic Zones nationwide with the aim of creating special places that would have different atmospheres conducive for processing, manufacturing, and industrialisation. He said that economic zones were being built in Lagos, Aba, Katsina, and other places. Osinbajo said that there were also plans to build up infrastructure in small, medium, and large industrial clusters already existing across Nigeria. He said that government was looking at the leather hubs in Aba in Abia; Ogidi in Anambra, and Kano state as well as iron works and fabrication clusters in Nnewi, Anambra State and in Bauchi. “The whole point is that we want to make sure that where we have existing economic clusters, we go in there to assist with power and other infrastructural needs that they may have there. “So, we are not necessarily creating new zones or new clusters, but building up those that we have so that they can be much more productive.”
The vice president, who also spoke on human capital development in the “Next Level” of the Buhari administration, especially in relation to education and health, said that Nigeria would have a problem if something drastic was not done about them. He said that the Federal Government and the states were considering how to enforce the nine-year free and compulsory education policy in the country. “This is a policy of the Federal Government and we believe that it must be enforced, especially because we know that this is the critical years of the child’s life,” he said. He said that enforcing the policy would ensure that the number of out-of-school children in the country dropped.
According to him, the Federal Government’s policy on education also involves the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics programmes, which will deal with the whole question of teacher training for digital literacy. Osinbajo said that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration would expand the Social Investment Programmes, including the N-Power scheme, the Home Grown School Feeding Programme, the Conditional Cash Transfer, and the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme so that it would include more Nigerians. (NAN)