By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA – THE Federal Government Monday disclosed that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, has approved the concession of Murtala Muhammed International Airport and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this at the quarterly programme on the ease of doing business which is the initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari-s-led administration at the Old Banquet Hall, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The quarterly parley was an avenue for the government to interface with the private sector stakeholders and is organised by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Committee, PEBEC.
Though the Vice President mentioned the approval for the concessioning of the airports, he did not disclose the identities of the concessionaires.
He stated that the federal government’s main commitment on ease of doing business in Nigeria was to ensure a general overhaul of the business environment which he said would involve the concession of all airports in the country.
He said, “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 concessioning of the Lagos and Abuja airports.”
Prof. 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.
The Vice President explained that the government’s commitment on ease of doing businesses in Nigeria was predicated on both evolution plans and capacity building.
Explaining on capacity building, the Vice President said it had become imperative to improve the capacity of government agencies which regulate business activities, stressing that even though the pursuit of enabling business environment might be slow, the government would remain focused.
He said this was responsible for the signing of executive orders with a view to ensuring that things are properly done.
The vice-president who further said that government’s approach to ease of doing business in Nigeria was dynamic said that the country currently generates 6,700 megawatts of electricity, and that out of it, 2000 was wasted daily because of problems associated with connection difficulties as well as problems between the transmission and distribution companies.
He said the distribution companies also expressed their unwillingness to take the 2,000 megawatts because of the unwillingness of some consumers to pay as he pledged government commitment to improve infrastructure related to power distribution.
Prof. Osinbajo further said that part of the business overhaul initiatives of the government was to ensure the provision of power in some notable business environments 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, describing it as “all sorts of off-grid initiatives to get power.”
The Vice President also disclosed that government was promoting solar power initiative 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 the private sector was dictated by knowledge that whereas everyone could not be persuaded to do things right, it was yet critical to get a sizable number who can make things work.
He said such sizable numbers could be got from not only the private sector, but also from critical organs of government such as the judiciary and the National Assembly.