By NKIRUKA NNOROM
A further $50 billion investment is expected to go into the Nigeria’s power sector in the next few years following successful completion of privatisation of the sector, says Dr. Olusegun Aganga, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.
Speaking at the 2014 Standard Bank West Africa Investors’ Conference in Lagos, Aganga said that for the first time in Nigeria’s 53 year history, the country successfully privatised the power industry and is bringing in capital, technology and operational excellence into the sector.
He noted that the theme of the conference, “Nigeria: Time to Deliver’, is a call to action, a statement of great expectations, an acknowledgement of the great potential across the length and breadth of our country, even as he said that power has been the bane of businesses in Nigeria, and was left unaddressed for many years.
He however, said, “This administration has tackled power supply head on. For the first time in Nigeria’s 53 year history, Nigeria successfully privatised the electric power industry, and is bringing in capital, technology and operational excellence into the sector.”
He added, “As a result, 11 distribution companies and four generation companies have been privatised, for over US$3 billion; other generating plants in the National Integrated Power Projects Programme will also be privatised soon. These electricity assets were physically handed over to private owners on November 1, 2013.
“But privatisation is just the beginning in Nigeria’s power sector, as we now have a pipeline of approximately $50 billion of investments lined up to go into the Nigerian power industry in the next few years.”
Aganga noted that, given the abundant investment opportunities in Nigeria, the country would remain one of the leading high growth and high returns countries globally.
He said in order to achieve sustainable inclusive economic growth and diversification; the Federal Government has already embarked on far-reaching sector-specific reforms to address the challenges inhibiting competitiveness of local businesses across all sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Speaking earlier while delivering his welcome remarks, Mr. Atedo Peterside, Chairman, Stanbic IBTC Bank, said with the theme of the conference, Stanbic IBTC has demonstrated its believe that various efforts to reform both the public and private sectors in recent years have ushered Nigeria to a point where execution has become critical for economic transformation the country desires.
He stated that conclusion of the GDP rebasing exercise would likely increase the possibility of Nigeria becoming the largest economy on the continent in the short to medium term.
He further stated that despite the frustrating pace of some of the reform programmes, sufficient enabling environment has been created over time for private sector investment to thrive, citing revolution in the telecommunication sector as an example.
“Nigeria, which we know has terrestrial infrastructure deficit, also became self- sufficient in cement production in 2013, thanks to measures that were undertaken to encourage domestic production.
“All these have occurred against the backdrop of various policy measures that have sought to position Nigeria for diversification of its economy and unlocking of Nigeria’s vast economic potential,” he affirmed.