Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The newly inaugurated Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council chaired by acting President Yemi Osinbajo held its first meeting in the State House on MondayÂ with a resolve to drive critical infrastructure development in the country.
Answering questions from journalists at the end of the meeting, the councilâ€™s Vice Chairman and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, said the meeting outlined its strategies for operation and would concentrate attention on working with both the private and public sectors with a view to tackling critical issues confronting industrialisation in Nigeria.
Besides infrastructure development, the minister listed other areas of the councilâ€™s concentration to include: financing, trade, skills and capacity building.
According to him, the council had constituted various committees within itself and spelt out its areas of priority, adding that the council will in its next meeting unfold its implementation agenda.
â€œThis is the second meeting of the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Council or Industrial Council for short. It was a working session.
â€œWe talked about the modalities – how we are going to work. We divided ourselves into groups and the critical issues and matters that affect industries and I can tell you that we have gone to work.
â€œThe first meeting was inaugural meeting. This was a working meeting and we have committed to making sure that working together between the private and public sectors, we â€˜ll engage and solve the most pressing problems and challenges that face industry and industrialisation in Nigeria.
â€œThere are a couple of questions that are important in strategy. They say â€˜the whoâ€™ is even more important than â€˜the what.â€™ The who and what questions are the two most important questions in strategy. Who is doing the strategy and implementing it? And what is the strategy?
â€œThose two questions have been answered here. The who is here. The what has also been addressed. We have identified five top priority areas – critical infrastructure, financing and trade and skills and capacity building. Those are the five areas the committees will focus on, and we have divided ourselves into groups. Next time we meet you, we will be telling you the priority areas and the implementation solutions we have focused on,â€ he said.
Also speaking, Chairman of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu, echoed Enelamah that the council resolved to drive critical infrastructure development with particular attention on power and roads.
According to him, the council expressed concern over poor power supply ravaging the country and promised commitment to changing the trend, pointing out that the council would among others, concentrate attention on improved power generation.
He said a situation where Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa generates paltry 4,000 mega watts of electricity for over two decades was a sad commentary which he said the federal government was prepared to alter.
â€œWe had a very good meeting and I think that at the end of the day, if all the things that are being presented are implemented, we will definitely move the country forward. There are some critical areas that the council is looking at, like power, infrastructure, road and all those things. But the most important thing that I think the council is looking at is to see how power generation can be improved for Nigerians.
â€œAs we all know, power generation in Nigeria is at 4000 mega watts for more than 20 years. So, government is very concerned. Itâ€™s very worried and it is doing everything possible to ensure that Nigeria has the required power. If you look at Egypt for example, it has recently inaugurated a 4,000 megawatts hydro which only started about four years ago. Nigeria, being the biggest economy and having only 4,000 or 5,000 megawatts, I think itâ€™s not the best for us.
â€œSo, the government is doing everything possible to ensure that at least, some of these critical areas are addressed. There is definitely the need for us to do something about it. The government has invited the private sector and we are working together how we can come together come out with modalities to improve most of these critical areas to move this country forward,â€ Rabiu stated.