Federal Government will save about N300 billion annually on the importation of wheat through the use of 20 percent cassava flour for bread production. Mr. Labaran Maku, the Minister of Information, announced this yesterday in Abuja at a briefing on the achievements of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in 2012.
He also said the government had stepped up investment in security through the provision of logistics, training and deployment of troops to tackle current challenges in some parts of the northern Nigeria.
Maku, who said current electricity generation in the country had reached 4,502 megawatts, the highest in recent time, said the amount spent on wheat importation had so far been brought down by N200 billion, following improvement in the production and processing of cassava flour.
He said the government was exploring agriculture as a major area to create jobs and wealth. The minister said the transformation that had taken place in the sector in the last one year was aimed at ensuring food security, curbing importation and diversifying the economy.
He said that the Growth Enhancement Scheme initiated by the Minister of Agriculture was designed to support small scale farmers to enable them get access to fertilisers and seeds directly at affordable prices.
On security, Maku said government had stepped up investment in security through the provision of logistics, training and deployment of troops to tackle current challenges in some states in the northern part of the country.
He said the administration had remained relentless in its efforts to end the challenges, adding that “this is crucial to the implementation of the Transformation Agenda because without security and peace, no meaningful development can be achieved in the affected states.”
Maku said government was collaborating with all stakeholders, including religious and community leaders as well as the affected people. The minister said due to the nature of the challenges, government would not take “draconian approach” as being canvassed in some quarters, adding that those behind the challenge lived among the people.
He said: “Let me on behalf of the government commiserate with those who lost their loved ones and those maimed in the mindless campaign of violence in last 12 months.”
According to Maku, electricity generation is expected to move up to 7,000 megawatts in 2013.
He said: “At the moment, there is an average of about 15 to 18 hours per day of constant power supply to different parts of the country.
“This feat was brought about through the implementation of the integrated power sector reform programme anchored on the Power Road Map.
“This includes institutional reforms to involve the private sector in power generation, transmission and distribution.”
Maku said under the road map, 10 new thermal power plants had been completed, adding that more were coming in 2013 to boost electricity supply to all parts of the country.
He said the rehabilitation of power generation and distribution infrastructure across the nation were ongoing and that Kainji Hydro Power station would generate power at installed capacity.
According to him, contract for the maintenance of the Shiroro Power Station has been awarded. Maku also said that new contracts had been awarded for hydro power plants in Kaduna and Mambila Plateau to generate additional 750 megawatts.
“The implementation of the National Integrated Power Project is being fast-tracked to ensure stability in power supply,” he added.
The minister said $1 billion dollars and $150 million dollars loans would soon be secured from the African Development Bank, ADB, to finance gas supply and liberalisation of the power sector, respectively.