…As FG plans to boost power with N701bn
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA— ACTING President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that any investor desirous of making a fortune on his investment in Africa will always consider Nigeria as the best economic destination on the continent.
The Acting President also disclosed that there was massive payment assurance scheme of over N701 billion the Federal Government was infusing into the power value chain to free up the chain.
“I like the idea of investors knowing that the reason you are coming to Nigeria is not to help Nigeria.You will ultimately end up helping Nigeria, but the reason you are coming here is the fact that this is a good place to do business,” he said.
Speaking at the Nigerian Initiative for Economic Development, NIED, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, the Acting President said the country would be hosting the largest private sector investment of single line refinery in the world that will be producing 650,000 barrels of oil every day as well as the largest single line fertilizer plant in the world that will all be ready by the end of 2018 and early 2019.
He said: “So, really, Nigeria is a place that is waiting to happen and it will happen. That’s really the point. It will happen. The truth of the matter is that any country that opens itself to free enterprise, the way Nigeria is opening itself to free enterprise, will somehow find that it will work.
“That is one of the critical things that we are bringing into the mix. We are insisting that the only way that this country can make the profit that it needs to make is by private sector investment, beginning with local investment.
“That’s why we are working so hard on making the investment climate profitable and easy for those who are doing business already.
“We believe that those who are doing business already will invariably bring in those who want to do business from outside the country, foreign investment etcetera.”
“But we think that it must be private sector driven. Our budget is N7trillion this year. Now, N7trillion is a small amount of money. I am not adding the budget of the states because if you add that it comes to something close to N20trillion. But just looking at the federal budget it is just N7trillion.
“But we have private sector investments that challenge that size. For example, the largest single line refinery in the world is a private sector investment and it’s going to be doing 650,000 barrels of oil every day.
‘’That refinery is purely private sector driven. Also, the largest single line fertilizer plant in the world is being set up here. All of these will be ready by the end of 2018, some early 2019. They are huge private sector investments that completely belie the size of the federal budget and belie everything else.
“So, really what we intend to do is to push private sector and that’s why we are doing everything that we are doing to ensure that the private sector can come in and invest. Look at the power sector for example; the power sector is almost completely privatized.
“But we have had difficulties because of tariffs, for example. Many times you look at our power sector, we have an installed capacity of about 12,000 megawatts today but we are only able to put on the grid under 5,000, a little above 4,000 megawatts. But we know that the potential is way beyond that maybe four or five times that.
“But what do we do to ensure that we realize that potential? What we need to do is to make this profitable for the private sector. So, we are working on the whole value chain. We are trying to free up that value chain, beginning with working on tariffs, and then, looking at the how, at the moment we have problem of liquidity in the value chain and we are addressing that.
“There is a massive payment assurance scheme of over N701 billion that we are infusing into the power value chain to free up that value chain. Once we are able to do that and we address the issue of tariffs we open it up again. And then people can come in and the big investors can come in and invest in power.
“This is a country of 180 million people and in another 10 years’ time we are probably going to be the sixth or seventh largest country in the world. There is no way we are not going to need power, whether it is off-grid power or on-grid power. Power is required by everyone where we have a major power deficit. So, we are going to open up that power sector and anyone who invests in power sector will definitely make money. No question. It is going to be much bigger and better than even the Tele-cos.”
Continuing, he said, “My friend is from Rwanda. Rwanda is a very lovely country and Paul Kagame is an incredible individual doing really good things in that country and I believe that the country will do great things. But compare Rwanda to Nigeria in terms of just the size of the economy. We have 36 states in Nigeria. Lagos alone which is the commercial nerve centre is six times the economy of Rwanda.
“So, really when you compare some of these things people say Oh! I want to go to there; I want to go here…Yaah! It’s okay. But the truth of the matter is that if you are really serious about investing in Africa, this is where you have to come to. This is absolutely where you must come to. There is no other place.
“So, I really want to say that we are very excited about the partnership that we are building with Nigerian Initiative for Economic Development NIED. And we really want to make this work and that’s why we brought all of our people to make these presentations and we will be meeting with you later on in the day.
“Just as Industry, Trade and Investment Minister has said, we are here and we want to make sure that we are interacting with you on a regular basis. As he said, it is not a sprint, it is a marathon.
“So, we have to keep at this. We should not lose focus. I like the idea of investors knowing that the reason why you are coming to Nigeria is not to help Nigeria. You will ultimately end up helping Nigeria, but the reason why you are coming here is because this is a good place to do business.
“And that is the only thing that should interest us and focus our minds. Ultimately, we will help our country, but first and foremost, this is a very, very good place to do business and it is going to be a profitable place—and very profitable for all of us.”