By Oscarline Onwuemenyi
ABUJA – The Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has blamed the inconsistency in policy making for the nationâ€™s inability to meet with the 6,000 megawatts of electricity it had targeted for December 31, 2009.
He further noted that the reversals and indecision in the execution of the National Integrated Power Projects, had substantially affected the performance of the projects, which was aimed at tackling the power challenge from the grassroots.
Jonathan, who was speaking in an address on Thursday during the 4th Annual Micro Finance Conference and Micro Entrepreneurship, organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria , in Abuja , noted that the administration was committed to getting the NIPP and other such revolutionary projects back on course towards achieving improved power generation in the country.
He said, â€œThere has been a major challenge in executing laudable policies, but most of the failures we see around us is as a result of inconsistency, for example, on the NIPP issue.
â€œIf we had been consistent with the project (NIPP), they would have been enough to give the country more than the 6,000 MW, which we had put as target for last December.â€
He added that, â€œThe thing people donâ€™t understand is that the NIPPs were a special project, which involved contributions not just by the Federal government, but also by the state and local governments, using funds from the Excess Crude.â€
Jonathan explained that the reason he was put in charge of the project was to get it in proper focus for effectiveness and prompt delivery.
The Vice President further warned microfinance institutions in the country to desist from lending money to fraudulent non_governmental agencies or groups that are set up only to benefit their owners.
According to him, â€œMicro_financing is critical to the economic growth of the country, but unfortunately the sub_sector, like many other initiatives that can propel growth from the base such as the NIPP, has been bedeviled by inconsistency.
â€œIt is our fervent hope that the micro_finance banks in the country do not go the way of Peopleâ€™s Bank of the past.â€
The Vice President acknowledged the unflinching support of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the development of policies and programmes to make financial services available to the large segment of the under_served Nigerian population.
He pointed out that the initiatives of the Bank will no doubt enable low income people make meaningful contribution to the national economy and accelerate growth anf\d development.
He said, â€œToday, access to financial services, including credit, is globally recognized as a powerful tool to move the people out of poverty and into economic prosperity. This administration recognizes that sustained growth and development will depend largely on the availability of affordable and efficient financial services.â€
Jonathan further noted that the commitment of the current administration to improve the livingstandards of Nigerians as well as their economic empowerment is amply demonstrated by the launching of the N50 billion Micro_Credit Fund in 2008, the implementation of the Financial System Strategy 2020 (FSS 2020), and increased budgetary provisions for poverty alleviation.
He added, â€œAs a government, we are committed to this cause; we believe that if we must reduce poverty and create wealth, we must recognize the importance of micro_finance in the improve strategies for reaching the larger body of active Nigerians with these funds.
â€œIt is my personal desire to see that the microfinance sector in Nigeria provides the funding required for the engagement of the active poor in profitable economic activities. This will surely lead to improvement in the standards of living of the citizenry.â€