President Muhammadu Buhari, while declaring the National Economic Forum retreat open on Monday, March 21, in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital addressed issues affecting the country’s economy.
During the retreat which is presided over by the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the president, spoke about the prevailing economic situation in the country with a view to finding a lasting solution within the next three years of his administration.
President Buhari said his administration would generate 10,000 megawatts of distributable power over the next three years, against 20,000 promised.
“Nigerians’ favourite talking point and butt of jokes is the power situation in our country. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is no longer a laughing matter,” he said.
“We must and by the grace of God we will put things right. In the three years left for this administration we have given ourselves the target of ten thousand megawatts distributable power.
“In 2016 alone, we intend to add two thousand megawatts to the national grid. This sector has been privatised but has yet to show any improvement in the quality of service.”
Unveiling their plans for the nation during the campaign, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) promised to deliver 40,000 megawatts of electricity within four to eight years.
“The APC government shall vigorously pursue the expansion of electricity generation and distribution of up to 40,000 megawatts in four to eight years,” the party said.
Buhari added that the purpose of the retreat was to “generate immediate medium and long term, viable policy solutions to the economic challenge facing us at both the federal and state levels”.
“From my information, issues worrying the public today are rise in food prices such as maize, corn, rice and garri. Lack of visible impact of government presence on agriculture, lack of agricultural import at affordable prices, cost of fertilizers, pesticides and labour compound the problem of faro,” he said.
“When I was a school boy in the 50s, the country produced one million tonnes of groundnuts in two successive years. The country main foreign exchange earner, were groundnut, cotton, cocoa, palm kernel rubber, all agro/forest resources.”
The retreat which is expected to end on Tuesday will be attended by all the 36 governors in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, as well as Senator Udo Udoma, the Budget and National Planning minister, among other top government functionaries in the country.