By Babajide KOMOLAFE
The Federal Government has convened a meeting with international investors to discuss fundingÂ of the power sector, says Minister of Finance, Dr Olusegun Aganga.
He however stressed that t the present administration did not promise to achieve 6000 megawatt beforeÂ the end of its tenure but improve power supply.
â€œThe President has promised that before the end of this administration or by the time this administration completes its term we would see an improvement in power. What I have to make clear is that he has not said by the end of this administration you will have 6000 mw. That was an understanding that was supposed to have been delivered last year.
What he has promised is that you will see improved power supply.â€ he said . Aganga spoke atÂ a a press conference yesterday.
â€œOn June 14th a group of international investors are coming to discuss their interest to invest in the power sector. I have had several of those meetings and one of the objectives of those meetings is to hear from them what we need to do to encourage those investments,â€ he said on efforts of the federal government to improve the investment climate and make Nigeria more competitive
â€œThe only way to make the environment more friendlyÂ is to listen to investors and do what they ask you to do. As long as it is legal and it works for Nigerians you do what they ask you to do,â€ he said adding that part of the initiatives in this regard is the dialogue held with private sector operators organized by the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG).
He said the federal government has also invited the World Economic Forum and the NESGÂ to discuss the recent ranking of Nigeria inÂ Survey on Global Competitiveness . â€œWe haveÂ invited them to come and have a chat with us to go throughÂ the detail findings, and see where are uncompetitive and what we need to do , and of course if they are legal and have no negative impact on Nigeria, we would do them.
He said that as part of measures to protect the nationâ€™s revenue flow the federal government is considering using financial instruments to hedge against decline in revenue due to fall in crude oil prices.
He said, â€œAnd in terms of protecting revenues, the biggest risk to us, because oil is where we get most of our revenue Is in the oil price volatility and we are looking at what we could doÂ using financial instruments to hedge our exposure, we have started looking into it.â€
Addressing speculations that the federal government hasÂ removedÂ some productsÂ from the import prohibition list, he said the there is no decision yet to that effect, saying that the economic management team (EMT) is still reviewing the current import prohibition list.
He said, â€œIt was discussed at the EMT and am sure it was discussed at other meetings. I want to assure you that no decision has been made about banning or unbanning any item. We are reviewing all the tariffs, we are reviewing what we must or should consider about banning or unbanning any item.
We know it is an issue. If you go to the house of everybody here today you will find imported furniture, if you consider what all of us are wearing, you will find imported clothing.
So we know there are issues and we are better off not pretending there are no issues, we are better off confronting them in a way that local industries do not suffer and in a way that the economy does not suffer. We have banned all these items and yet the textile industry is disappearing.Â So there must be something we are not doing right and this gives us opportunity to reassess it and ensure we get it right.