By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the concession of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed yesterday.
The vice-president made this disclosure at the quarterly parley of the government and private sector stakeholders organised by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Committee (PEBEC), held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the federal government’s main commitment on the ease of doing business in Nigeria was to ensure the general overhaul of the business environment which he said would involve the concession of all airports in the country.
Specifically, the vice-president said already, FEC had granted approval for the concession of the Abuja and Lagos airports.
“First, we want to do a general overhaul. Second, we want to concession all the airports. I am pleased to say that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the concession of the Lagos and Abuja airports,” he stated.
Osinbajo who said partnering with private sector operators was a sensible decision to take at the moment, added that the move was important because it serves as the forum for the government to receive both criticisms and suggestions from the private sector.
He pointed out that the government’s commitment to the ease of doing businesses in Nigeria was predicated on both evolution plans and capacity building.
On capacity building, Osinbajo said it had become imperative to improve the capacity of government agencies, which regulate business activities.
According to him, even though the pursuit of the enabling business environment might be slow, the government would remain focused, a situation he said was responsible for the signing of the executive orders with a view to ensuring that things are properly done.
The vice-president who further said that government’s approach to the ease of doing business in Nigeria was dynamic, delved into the current challenges confronting the power sector.
He said while the country currently generates 6,700 megawatts (MW) of electricity, 2,000MW of it gets wasted daily because of problems associated with connection difficulties as well as problems between the transmission and distribution companies.
He said the distribution companies had also expressed their unwillingness to take the 2,000MW because of the unwillingness of some consumers to pay, even as he pledged the government’s commitment to improve the infrastructure related to power distribution.
He also said part of the business overhaul initiatives of the government were aimed at ensuring the provision of power in some notable business clusters such as the Ariaria market in Aba, Abia State, the printing industry in Somolu, Lagos, and a Kano market without the necessary connection to the national grid.
He described it as “all sorts of off-grid initiatives to get power to industries”.
Furthermore, Osinbajo said the government was promoting solar power initiatives as well as the construction of integrated power plants in nine Nigerian universities to boost power supply.
He also said the underlying factor behind partnering with the private sector was dictated by the knowledge that whereas everyone could not be persuaded to do things right, it was critical to get a sizable number who can make things work.
He said such sizable numbers could be harnessed from not only the private sector, but also from critical organs of government such as the judiciary and the National Assembly.