The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga has revealed that the privatisation of Nigeria's power sector has unlocked the investment opportunities existing in the sector with pipeline investments estimated at $50billion currently.
Olusegun Aganga, who was speaking at the 5th Standard Bank West Africa Investors' Forum held in Lagos on Tuesday February 4, 2014 indicated that for the first time in Nigeria's 53 years history, the country has successfully privatised the electric power industry which is presently fetching capital, technology and operational excellence into the sector.
The Minister noted that the event which had the theme - "Nigeria: Time to Deliver," is a call to action, a statement of great expectations and an acknowledgement of the great potentials lying across the length and breadth of the country. For many years, power has been the bane for businesses in Nigeria and was left unaddressed.
"As a result, eleven distribution companies and four generation companies have been privatized, for over US$3 billion; other generating plants in the National Integrated Power Projects Programme will be privatised soon. These electricity assets were physically handed over to private owners on 1st November, 2013. But, privatization 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," he iterated.
Aganga further noted that given the abundant investment opportunities in Nigeria, the country would remain one of the leading high growth and high returns countries globally. Adding, 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 the competitiveness of local businesses across all sectors of the Nigerian economy. According to him, the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan is taking Nigeria in a new direction to unlock the economy driven by sectoral policies and to facilitate inclusive economic growth and diversification through competitiveness. The government, he disclosed is taking Nigeria beyond oil as declared in the Transformation Agenda, expressing belief that it will all start and end with competitiveness, so as to impact on the Nigerian economy.
The Minister added that the implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan was already yielding good results, stating that Government would work with all stakeholders to replicate the success stories so far recorded in the cement industry in the other sectors of the economy through the Backward Integration Programme.
"In the industrial sector, Nigeria has commenced its most ambitious drive for industrialization through the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan. We have decided to use industry to diversify the economy, create jobs, broaden government income and generate wealth. To achieve this, NIRP will identify industrial groupings where Nigeria has comparative advantage and can be first in Africa or top ten globally. Such areas include: agro-allied and agro processing, metals and solid minerals processing, oil and gas related industries, construction, light manufacturing and services," he explained. While speaking on the successes made so far towards implementing the programme, he pointed out that under the NIRP, Nigeria attracted over $3 billion of new investments in the sugar-to-sugarcane industry in 2013, consolidated its position in the cement sector which is now attracting $8 billion aggregate till date and is also supporting 1.6 million Nigerian jobs.
He said: "For the first time last year with 28.5 million of installed capacity, Nigeria became a net exporter of cement. As part of the NIRP, we commenced the transformation of the Nigerian auto industry to domesticate a significant part of US $3.5 billion, excluding the costs of spare parts which we spend annually in the importation of fully built cars," he said.
The Minister espoused that from the period when the new auto policy was announced, the country has made more progress with auto in just four months than over the last thirty years combined. Adding, other sectors with major reforms coming in the next few months will create new opportunities for investors.