The Federal Government on Tuesday promised to unchain the obstacles hampering power supply programme and promised to achieve the 10,000 megawatts envisaged in its Economic Recovery and Growth Programme (ERGP).
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the assurance while declaring open the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, adding that the government would break the monopoly of Distribution and Generation Companies.
“We are at the moment dealing with the constraints in distribution, with two notable policy interventions.
“The National Electricity Regulatory Commission in August issued the eligible customer directives and will this month issue directives on independent metering.
“The eligible customer regime allows a willing seller, willing buyer arrangements in the sale of power.
“The independent metering directive allows independent entities aside from registered power distribution companies to sell and install meters to customers and be paid directly as collections are made from metered customers.
“This will break the distribution gridlock and there is good cause to believe that we will achieve the 10,000MW envisaged in the ERGP,’’ he added.
The vice president noted that the administration had addressed more than 10 key concerns raised by the Economic Group during the 2016 Summit, to grow the economy.
He said that the economy had now returned to the path of growth after a continuous slide from 2014.
“As is now well known, we exited recession in the second quarter of 2017 with a GDP growth rate of 0.55 per cent while inflation has similarly declined continuously from its peak of about 18 per cent in January 2017 to about 16 per cent today.
“Second, last year there were concerns about the availability of foreign exchange and a rapidly deteriorating exchange rate. The situation has been turned around and stabilised.
“Foreign exchange reserves have risen to about 33 billion dollars and end users have increased access to foreign exchange.
“This was partly due mainly to increased export earnings and remittances as well as the introduction of a dedicated transparent window for Investors and Exporters (NIFEX).
“The results have been encouraging as the inflows of capital in the second quarter of 2017 of about 1.8 billion dollars were almost double the amount of 908 million dollars imported in the first quarter of the year,’’ he stated.
Osinbajo said another issue of great concern last year that had been resolved was the loss of a significant amount of oil production which he said was solved through constructive dialogue with Niger Delta stakeholders.
Before then, he said, the country lost up to one million barrels a day of crude oil production but production had been restored to nearly two million barrels per day.
He noted that the debt overhang preventing required additional investments in the oil sector was also addressed through the plan to pay off Joint Venture cash call arrears thus restoring the confidence in the sector.
Osinbajo disclosed that the administration began the process of diversifying the economy, leading with the agricultural sector, noting that agriculture had created a large number of jobs.
He explained that the Anchor Borrowers Programme, launched by the President in 2015,
He said that in its efforts to improve the business environment, the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) introduced reforms under a 60-day national action plan focused on eight areas.
According to him, the areas make it easier to register businesses, obtain construction permits, get credit, pay taxes, get electricity, trade across borders, facilitate entry and exit of people and register property.
“The second national action plan, which will bring about similar results, was launched at the beginning of this month,’’ he stated.