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75% electricity to come from natural gas – Nnaji

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By Franklin Alli & Providence Obuh
LAGOS—The Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, yesterday in Lagos, said the Federal Government has put plans in place to generate 75 per cent of the country’s electricity requirements from natural gas.

Nigeria currently has gas deposit of 184 trillion cubic feet, making it the 7th largest gas reserve in the world.

Speaking during the opening session of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment’s workshop on “Enhancing the Productivity of our Industries,” Nnaji, said that by the year 2014 power generation would have increased to 15,000 mega watt and government is working to ensure that gas is used as a raw material to increase the power generation by 75 per cent, while 25 per cent will be generated from coal and hydropower.

While explaining his Ministry’s short-term, medium-term and long-term framework to fast- track  power generation, transmission and distribution to homes and industries in the country, the Minister said as power comes, “we will deliver to industrial areas across the country like Lagos, Kano, Kaduna and Ogun State.”

On the long term solutions, the minister maintained that the ongoing privatisation of the power sector will see the end to government involvement in business from generation to distribution, transmission and marketing while government will only provide the enabling environment for the players, stressing: “We are not going to give excuses on issue of power again.  We will remove electricity from the hand of government. It should be in the hands of private sector. By October this year, we would have completed privatisation of power. From July we will remove government hand so that government will only be regulator.

On the new electricity tariff that is expected to start next month, he noted that except for Zambia, Nigeria is the only country paying the lowest electricity tariff in Africa.  “We are paying non-cost reflective tariff.  The new tariff to take off June 1 will be cost effective tariff,” he said.

He also noted that the federal government has resolved to revisit and complete all the abandoned power projects that were begun since 2005.

“We want those who are producing excess power to inform the Federal Government. We are ready to buy and distribute”, he said.

The Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, in his presentation,  unfolded his administration’s industrial revolution plan to transform the manufacturing sector of the economy so that the sector can be contributing  8 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product by the year 2015, from the current 4 percent.

He noted that countries like Kenya, Cameroun, Malaysia and Indonesia did it; why can’t Nigeria do the same? He, therefore, urged the private sector to key into the industrial revolution, saying “the key economic transformation is in your hand. You have the power to drive the economy and to create demand. The job of the Federal Government is to create enabling environment.”

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