By Franklin Alli & Naomi Uzor
President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, said the Federal Government has paid off power generation companies,’ GENCOs, N25 billion debts owed gas companies for gas supplies in order to boost electricity generation and transmission nationwide.
The Federal Government has also pledged to reduce the cost of borrowing for manufacturers in the country.
Speaking during the 42nd annual general meeting of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria in Lagos, President Jonathan said: “Just last week, we intervened in this sector by paying off a debt of over N25 billion these generation companies owed for gas supplies to guarantee uninterrupted supply of gas.
“As you are aware, we have already privatised power generation and distribution in order to significantly and effectively increase power supply to industry and other sectors. This will enhance capacity utilisation and reduce cost of production.”
Represented by Vice President, Namadi Sambo, he assured that his administration “is determined to fundamentally change this country for future generations.”
According to him, manufacturing had become Nigeria’s biggest driver of growth.
“The manufacturing sector reported 22 per cent growth in 2013, compared with 14 per cent in 2012. Capacity utilisation increased from 46.3 per cent at the start of 2013, to 52.7 per cent at the end of 2013, with further improvements continuing this year 2014.
“In 2013, the Central Bank of Nigeria, reported a 952 per cent increase in receipts from exports of manufactured products from Nigeria.
“This is indeed unprecedented. This shows that although we still have a long way to go, the government’s industrial agenda under the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plans, NIRP, are working.”
“In specific sectors, we have also made progress. In automobiles, Nigeria can once again proudly boast as being one of the auto manufacturing centres of the world.
“The last time, we could say this was over 30 years ago. Since the Auto Policy launched by this administration in October 2013, we have seen three leading global brands commence vehicle assembly in Nigeria – Nissan, Hyundai, and Peugeot.
“We have also seen existing local players, such as Innosson in Nnewi attract new partners from China, to expand their capacity and output in Nigeria. Over 10 other companies, including other global brands, have shown interest and commenced plans for assembly operations in Nigeria. This is how you develop a country, to create jobs and wealth for Nigerians.
“In the sugar sector, since commencing the Sugar Master Plan of the NIRP, Nigeria has lined up over US$3 billion of investments, across seven states, and in more than 15 projects across the country.
“Over the next few years, these projects will make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar, and employ over a million Nigerians directly and indirectly.
“In petrochemicals, for years Nigeria’s petrochemical sector was small and stagnant, despite Nigeria being a major oil and gas producer – this administration has changed this situation with our industrial agenda.