Peter Obi, the Labor Party’s presidential candidate, and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party, outlined on Monday the steps they plan to take to resolve the country’s energy crisis and other challenges, if elected.

Speaking at the Nigerian Economic Summit Group Presidential Dialogue on the Economy in Lagos, Atiku said that if he comes to power, within the “first year of the new administration, he will initiate and implement an emergency power program that can provide capacity extra in certain key places.” areas.”

“In the medium term, I will propose legislation to remove the entire electricity value chain from the exclusive list and give states the power to generate, transmit and distribute electricity themselves,” he said.

He said the latest major industrial dispute in the sector resulted in a loss of more than N100 billion in the first two days of the strike.

“It is counterproductive and harmful to let an industrial dispute with the federal government in Abuja affect an industry in Lagos or a factory in Aba or Kano, or even an average Nigerian who just wants to get home, watch the news and sleep. under a ceiling fan,” he said.

With 83 million Nigerians without access to the electricity grid, as reported by the World Bank in 2022, Atiku promised to increase investment in additional generation capacity, accompanied by complementary investments in transmission and distribution infrastructure to transport the additional power.

“We will incentivize private investors to invest in the entire electricity value chain, while the Federal Government focuses on policy, regulation and standardization. A fee structure for operators that reflects costs will be one of those incentives,” he said.

Obi, speaking at Chatham House in the UK, described his party’s solution to Nigeria’s perennial energy problem as “a comprehensive solution covering transmission, distribution, generation and financing as detailed in our manifesto.”

“However, we will immediately complete the $2.3 billion Nigeria-Siemens grid upgrade agreement to achieve a stable capacity of 7,000 MW by the end of this year (2023), 11,000 megawatts by 2024 and 25,000 megawatts by 2025.” , said. “We will support the local manufacturing capacity of energy technologies and we will encourage and expand local R&D in universities, training centers and workshops through which many jobs will be created”.

Listing seven governance priorities, Obi said the fifth is to “build expansive infrastructure for efficient energy supply, rail, road and air transportation, and pipeline network, through integrated public-private partnerships and corporate governance of the public sector”.

He said: “Nigeria is at a critical juncture, having suffered from two recessions in the last six years, unprecedented levels of physical and food insecurity, persistent fuel shortages and high levels of crude oil theft,” he said.

“While we aggressively pursue the activation of all opportunities in the oil and gas value chain, we will focus on incentive schemes that will be professionally managed to diversify our non-oil export portfolio with proper consideration and management of risk and climate change opportunities.

Atiku promised to boost resources and encourage public-private partnerships to reduce poverty in the country.

The former vice president said the success of his poverty reduction agenda will be “measured by the number of jobs created and the number of people lifted out of poverty rather than the amount of money spent.”

In seeking the mandate from Nigerian voters, he pointed to the negative statistics of mass unemployment, infrastructure deficit financing, a huge public debt profile, a high inflation rate and insecurity as some of the reasons why he should have the opportunity. to govern. the country.

“I have carefully outlined five priority areas to focus on to rescue and reposition this country for sustained economic growth, improved well-being, peace and security for our people,” he said.

Atiku believes, based on extensive research by his economic team, that pulling the country out of the doldrums of economic uncertainty would require a religious approach to unify the country, revive the economy, enhance security, upgrade infrastructure, and build capital capacity. human. from the country.

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He took the time to specify how he intends to achieve his poverty reduction agenda, with a focus on job creation and wealth distribution.

“These priority areas are connected to each other and cannot be dealt with in isolation,” he said. “And they would have the biggest impact on every other aspect of our national life. They are also intended to provide a focus for my government instead of us scratching everything and doing nothing right.”

He promised that his well thought out agenda would lead Nigeria to the promised land of economic prosperity.

His economic growth and development agenda aimed at bringing Nigeria into the world’s top 20 economies “would seek to revitalize real sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.”

Obi said fiscal and monetary policy will be properly coordinated, each implementing conventional tools transparently rather than distorting markets to favor a few privileged people.

He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, we will collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria for the transparent liberalization of the foreign exchange market and the dismantling of the opaque multiple exchange rate regime that effectively subsidizes a few privileged people.

“We will also look to boost the supply side, rather than continue to focus solely on managing demand for the FX market. When unaffordable subsidies are removed, some carefully calibrated transfers will be used to cushion any adverse impact on the economically weak.

“If the competitiveness of a sector is to be improved, it will be done through the enactment of transparent and specially targeted fiscal and trade policies designed to stimulate investment and growth. Revenue shortfalls and leaks such as oil theft will be decisively addressed by holding people in positions of authority fully accountable.”