Hydro power plants
By Crusoe Osagie
The Federal Government has commenced the process of establishing hydro-power plants in strategic areas in the country as part of efforts to reduce the operational costs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
The federal government also said that the move was part of efforts at improving the business operating environment in the country.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who made these remarks, also said that the FG would get entrepreneurs to build small hydro-power plants, as quickly as possible, in areas where they could serve SMEs.
Aganga said this during a working visit to the Bank of Industry (BoI) in Lagos.
He said, “Now that we have embarked on the Industrialisation Revolution Plan, the role of BoI becomes more important. On hydro power plants for SMEs, we want to get this done as soon as ‘yesterday’. If there is no infrastructure, mainly power, the SMEs find it difficult to succeed.
“So, we must make the hydro power plant project successful. We will look at the locations and link them to industrial development centres. We will find a way of scaling this up, as quickly as possible, so that we can reduce the operational costs of our SMEs.”
According to the minister, when the federal government’s efforts at industrialising the nation become fruitful, the industries would not only create jobs, but would also generate tax revenue for the government.
He noted that the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment would focus on areas where the country had comparative and competitive advantage, link research, development and innovation as part of enhancing productivity, while institutionalising industrial skills development.
“We intend to remove the barriers to increased productivity, based on a research of failed/ailing industries already carried out by my ministry, with assistance from the private sector, and, like I have always said, we will develop backward integration policies in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“Since the inception of this administration, our thrust has been improving the investment climate and business environment through the Investment Climate Reform Programme. Our aspiration is to significantly improve Nigeria’s ranking in the ease of doing business and competitiveness, and make Nigeria the preferred investment destination not only in Africa but amongst the dynamic emerging economies. That was one of the motivations for establishing the Ministry of Trade and Investment.
“Some of the reforms already embarked upon by the Federal Government to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria includes reducing the number of days it takes to clear goods at the port from 35 days to 5 days, operating a 24-hour service at the ports, strengthening the one stop shop at NIPC to deliver a 48 hour service and reducing the number of days it takes to register a company, among others,” Aganga added.
In her response, the Managing Director, Bank of Industry, Ms. Evelyn Oputu, revealed that the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) had done a survey of the country and identified all the sites where there were hydro potentials for the generation of electricity.
She noted that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and BoI would help potential entrepreneurs in capacity building, adding, that the federal government would however need the buy-in of the state governments, as well as the communities involved to implement the small hydro power plant projects.