The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has said that the privatisation of Nigeria’s power sector has unlocked the investment opportunities in the sector, with pipeline investments estimated at $50billion currently.
Aganga said for the first time in Nigeria’s 53 year history, the country successfully privatised the electric power industry, “and is bringing in capital, technology and operational excellence into the sector.”
He spoke at the 5th Standard Bank West Africa Investors’ Forum in Lagos on Tuesday.
The minister said, “This event themed “Nigeria: Time to Deliver’, is a call to action, a statement of great expectations, an acknowledgement of the great potential across the length and breadth of our country. For many years, power has been the bane for businesses in Nigeria, and was left unaddressed.
“This administration has however tackled power supply head on. For the first time in Nigeria’s 53 year history, Nigeria successfully privatized the electric power industry, and is bringing in capital, technology and operational excellence into the sector.”
He added, “As a result, 11 distribution companies and four generation companies have been privatized, for over US$3 billion; other generating plants in the National Integrated Power Projects Programme will also be privatised soon. These electricity assets were physically handed over to private owners on 1st November, 2013.
“But privatization is just the beginning in Nigeria’s power sector, as we now have a pipeline of approximately $50 billion of investments lined up to go into the Nigerian power industry in the next few years.”
Aganga noted that, given the abundant investment opportunities in Nigeria, the country would remain one of the leading high growth and high returns countries globally.
He said in order to achieve sustainable inclusive economic growth and diversification, the Federal Government had already embarked on far-reaching sector-specific reforms to address the challenges inhibiting competitiveness of local businesses across all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
He said, “The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan is taking Nigeria in a new direction that will unlock the economy driven by sectoral policies in order to facilitate inclusive economic growth and diversification through competitiveness.
“This government is taking Nigeria beyond oil, as declared in the Transformation Agenda, but we believe that it all starts and ends with competitiveness because it will revolutionize the Nigerian economy.”
The minister added that the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan was already yielding good results, adding that the Federal Government would work with all stakeholders to replicate the success stories so far recorded in the cement industry, through the Backward Integration Programme, in other sectors of the economy.
He said, “In Industry, Nigeria has commenced its most ambitious drive towards industrialization ever, through the Nigeria Industrial Revolution plan. We have decided to use Industry to diversify the economy, create jobs, broaden government income and generate wealth.
“To achieve this, NIRP identifies Industry groups where Nigeria has comparative advantage, where we can be No 1 in Africa, or top 10 globally; in areas such as agro allied and agro processing; metals and solid minerals processing; oil and gas related industries; and construction, light manufacturing and services.”
The minister said there had been a remarkable success so far in implementing the programme, adding that, for instance, under the NIRP, Nigeria attracted over $3billion of new investments in the sugar-to-sugarcane industry in 2013; consolidated its position in the cement sector, which has now attracted $8 billion aggregate till date and is supporting 1.6 million Nigerian jobs.
He said, “For the first time last year, with 28.5 million of installed capacity, Nigeria became a net exporter of cement. As part of the NIRP, we commenced transformation within the Nigerian Auto industry, to domesticate a significant part of US$3.5 billion, excluding the costs of spare parts, which we spend annually importing fully built cars.
“Since announcing our new Auto policy, we have made more progress in Auto, in just four months, than over the last 30 years combined. Other sectors with major reforms coming in the next few months, will also create new opportunities for investors.”