*To Initiate Fresh Made In Nigeria Campaign*
* Promises 10,000MGTs of Power
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday opened on the state of the nation’s economy and for the first time, admitted that Nigerians are fully United about the ills facing the economy
The President who was speaking at the opening session of National Economic Council Retreat specifically conveyed to address current economic challenges at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja, said he was seeking the help of foreign investors and local construction companies in his efforts to fix the economy, especially the housing deficiency.
“We invite foreign investors together with local domiciled big construction companies to enter into commercial housing building to pick up the rest”
He declared that from “information at my disposal, if we aggregate public views from the grassroots, city dwellers, the economic managers, consumer groups, the Unions and other stakeholders of the economy, there is near unanimity about the ills of our economy. But naturally, there are divergent views about solutions.”
The President who stated that he was limiting current efforts at the retreat to areas such as Agriculture, Power,
Manufacturing and Housing, however stated that other areas such as Education, Science and Technology were reserved because they “require a whole retreat by themselves”
Speaking on the power sector challenges, the President noted that Power situation in the country was no longer a laughing matter, adding that current administration has a target to generate 10,000megawatts in the three years, while 2,000, Megawatts will be developed in 2016 alone.
According to him “Nigerians’ favourite talking point and butt of jokes is the power situation in our country. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer a laughing matter. We must and by the grace of God we will put things right. In the three years left for this administration, we have given ourselves the target of ten thousand megawatts distributable power. In 2016 alone, we intend to add two thousand megawatts to the national grid”.
The President who also noted that Nigerians are concerned with housing deficits, said the severe shortage of housing, high rents, unaffordable prices for prospective buyers especially middle and low-income earners, will be faced head on through federal and state government joints efforts
The Federal Government builds two hundred and fifty thousand units. The 22 APC States together manage another two hundred and fifty thousand units.
He added: “In addition, red tape, corruption and plain public service inefficiency lead to long delays in obtaining ownership of title documents
“Again, there are no long term funding sources for mortgage purposes.
“These hurdles are by no means easy to scale, but we must find solutions to the housing deficit. This Retreat might start by looking at the laws.”
Speaking on the poor power situation in the country, Buhari observed that it had become the subject of jokes of Nigerians as he gave a target of 10,000mw to be achieved in the three years remaining for his administration.
According to him, “Nigerians’ favourite talking point and butt of jokes is the power situation in our country. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer a laughing matter.
“We must and by the grace of God we will put things right. In the three years left for this administration we have given ourselves the target of ten thousand megawatts distributable power. In 2016 alone, we intend to add two thousand megawatts to the national grid.”
He noted that despite the privatization of the power sector, not much has been achieved in terms of performance as the old problems have remained.
According to him, “This sector has been privatized but has yet to show any improvement in the quality of service. Common public complaints are constant power cuts destroying economic activity and affecting quality of life, high electricity bills despite power cuts, low supply of gas to power plants due to vandalization by terrorists, obsolete power distribution equipment such as transformers, power fluctuations, which damage manufacturing equipment and household appliances, low voltage which cannot run industrial machinery.
As part of the quick win measures , the President called for a fresh campaign to patronize Made-in-Nigeria goods.
“A fresh campaign to patronize Made-in-Nigeria goods should be launched. Example: all uniforms in government-sponsored institutions should be sourced from local factories.”