At the meeting of the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, held recently in the conference room of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, hopes were again raised on key sectors of the economy.
There was hope of increased broadband penetration, increased power supply through the use of unutilized power, as well as skills development and employment in the sugar industry.
That was in furtherance of the main purpose of the Council, which Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Vice Chairman of the Council says is to deal with critical intervention at the highest level. He is also the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.
He explained that “The council is to assist the government in formulating policies and strategies that will enhance the performance of the industrial sector in furtherance of the country’s industrialisation programmes through a platform for partnering with the private sector and other interests to work together.”
Membership of this public-private sector partnership include: VP Yemi Osinbajo (Chairman);Dr. Enelamah (Vice-Chairman, Public Sector)
Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Aisha Abubakar (Alternate Vice-Chairman, Public Sector);Alhaji Aliko Dangote (Vice-Chairman, Private Sector); and Atedo Peterside (Alternate Vice-Chairman, Private Sector).
There are 15 other members from the public sector and 22 members from the private sector. Some of the members are on the technical committee.
At the inauguration of the Council last year, Vice President Osinbajo said the council’s duty was not just patriotic but also one to enable Nigerians to create livelihoods for themselves.
“It is not just a patriotic duty but I believe that it is what will rescue and save our country and give our country a real chance to be competitive in global business and commerce.
“And to give our people a fair chance of being able to create livelihood for themselves, jobs and all of those things that will make for a nation of people who are happy and satisfied.”
According to him, if the council did not get it right then it was unlikely that the country can never get it right.”
Among the high-level intervention projects of the Council discussed at the last meeting were:
National Broadband Penetration
Current broadband penetration in Nigeria is 22 percent as compared to 4% in 2012. To further improve broadband penetration, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) developed a Licensing Framework and instituted a subsidy scheme to enable Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) to roll out fibre in all the zones of the country.
Specifically, the project, one of the key high-level interventions of the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, is to increase broadband penetration across all geopolitical zones of the country, such that at the end of the four-year intervention, all the 774 LGAs will be provided with fibre connectivity.
That implies the deployment of at least one fibre Point of Access (PoA), with the capacity of 10 Gbps, in each LGA across the country.
According to the Executive Secretary of the Council, Edirin Akemu, the inability of using a single Infraco to achieve the desired broadband penetration because of the sheer size of the country, topographic challenges and socio-economic factors necessitated the use of the more companies.
“To address the above difficulty and fast track broadband penetration, the National Communications Commission, which is executing the project has developed a structure to licence 6 InfraCos for the geopolitical zones and an additional one for Lagos because of its peculiarities,” she explained.
In the presentation of the NCC at the last Council meeting, it has engaged the National Economic Council and the Nigerian Governors Forum on
its broadband initiatives and has also reviewed the submission of the six licensed InfraCos relating to the Capital cost (Capex) for the project over four years, subsidy requirement, and network design.
Following the review they were requested to submit revised financials, network design and rollout plan based on, one PoA per LGA only for subsequent review.
At the end of the exercise, negotiation of percentage subsidy is to be considered for the respective zones. According to Dr. Enelamah, “Based on the speed of re-submission received from the respective InfraCos and the conclusion of the subsidy agreement, it is expected that the project will kick-off before the end of 2018.
Deployment of underutilized power assets
In a move to ensure optimal use of resources, the Federal Government has commenced moves to deploy underutilized power assets to deliver incremental power to industrial centres and needy communities in the country.
Through the coordination of the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council, the government seeks to generate additional 4.2 Gigawatts of power to the national grid in the next 12-18 months.
Towards this end, a total of 8 power projects have been selected for the critical intervention. They are the Aba Integrated Power Project; Kainji rehabilitation and expansion; power transmission; captive power projects for industry; Afam IV rehabilitation; Afam V rehabilitation; a Seplat gas facility; and Alaoji power plant.
Dr. Enelamah said work is ongoing on the Alaoji power plant to supply about 360MW of unutilized power to industrial centres and people in the South-East Axis of Onitsha, Aba, Nnewi and Ihiala.
He explained that only 120MW out of the 480MW of power generated by the plant is regularly utilized, so 360MW of power is available for centres willing and ready.
“The beauty of this project, which is a pilot, is the optimization of resources and also that the learning from it is intended to be used to unlock up to 2GW from underutilised NDPHC power plants, Dr. Enelamah said.”
The partners executing the project are the Federal Government (through The Transmission Company of Nigeria, Niger Delta Power Holding Company), GE Power, and Enugu Disco.