BY HENRY UMORU
ABUJA—THE Federal Government yesterday defended the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON honour on the Chairman, Conoil, Chief Mike Adenuga, describing it as well deserving.
Addressing newsmen, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe said there was the need to divorce the action of Adenuga’s company from his personal achievements.
Okupe who noted that he stands as one of the greatest employers of labour in Nigeria today, said Chief Adenuga has done a great deal for the country through his numerous business concerns which employ thousands of Nigerians.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, also disclosed that Nigeria now expects power generation to hit about 7,000Mw by December with the increased availability of gas to power the National Integrated Power Projects, NIPP, in the country.
He also said the nation’s external reserves will soon hit $50 billion, stressing that at present, it stands at about $39billion which according to him was enough to guarantee three months of imports without fears. Okupe said that with the present reserves, it will strengthen the Naira, stabilize the economy as well tame demands on income.
Power generation to hit 700Mw by Dec
According to him, expected increase in power generation would be in excess of 600% of the amount ever generated in the country, adding that those planning to buy generating sets should jettison the idea against the backdrop that Nigerians will now begin to enjoy more hours of uninterrupted power supply.
Okupe who explained that the major problem that affected the power sector in the country was the inability of the NIPP to come on stream following the absence of gas, added, “but today, I am happy to announce to you that through the emergency measures taken by the President, that has changed.”
According to him, though Alaoji, Olorunsogo and Sapele power stations required about 60million standard cubic metres of gas to power electricity, what is now available is 240million standard cubic metres of gas with additional 100million standard cubic metres expected to be supplied by a private company, adding, ‘’they are now going to add to the national grid. It is envisaged that by December this year, Nigeria will hit all time high in excess of 7000Mw. That will mean that Nigeria will have more hours of uninterrupted power supply nationwide. It will be 600 per cent more than what we already generated.”
Tongue lashing the opposition of misleading Nigerians for too long with disinformation about the capacity of this government to manage the economy, Okupe who stressed that there was a plan to build excess crude account to $10billion, added, ‘’the principles that are embedded in the Nigerian economy are beginning to yield fruit and belies the argument of the opposition about the capacity of government to manage the economy. There is investor confidence. It means we are now on a steady keel of stability on the Nigerian economy. All these are good indices of the Transformation Agenda.”
On the state of railway rehabilitation in the country, Okupe disclosed that rehabilitation work of western 488 kilometres the Lagos-Jebba railway line has been completed and the 638 kilometres Jebba-Kano railway line while the new standard gauge Abuja-Kaduna 180 kilometres was at 35 per cent completion.
Citing the observation made by the Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigerian, MAN, Chief Kola Jamodu, the Senior Special Assistant explained that in the last one year, over 240 new manufacturing industries have opened in Nigeria investing N400billion and employing in excess of 200,000 Nigerians while capacity utilization has increased to 70 per cent