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INEC Over Promised And Under Delivered

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By Ehi Braimah



After Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared the winner of the presidential election which held on February 25, the opposition parties and their supporters accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of “lack of transparency” in the electoral process.

This is actually an old story because there’s no election in Nigeria that has not been rocked by controversies. Even in 2027, allegations of rigging will not go away. What is important is for us to improve on the process with each election cycle.

We have had 24 unbroken years of democratic rule since 1999 which is a major achievement –despite of our imperfections. I was not expecting INEC to tick all the boxes even after its chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, assured all Nigerians that they were fully ready.

As some commentators rightly noted, Prof Yakubu “over promised and under delivered,” whereas it should have been the other way round. Understandably, some hopes were dashed with the outcome of the presidential election result. As bad as INEC’s role may have been portrayed, we should not crucify the electoral body.

But what exactly were the splintered opposition parties expecting? In a sense, when compared with the All Progressives Congress (APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was no longer a “dominant” party against the backdrop of the following breakaway groups: Peter Obi of the Labour Party; Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples party and the G5 governors led by Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers state.

PDP scored an own goal when it gave Atiku Abubakar its presidential ticketagainst the party’s zoning principle. The expectation was that power should shift to the South after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.

Secondly, it will be foolhardy to believe that the political capital that president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, amassed over the last 30 years – including the risk to his life when he joined other democratic forces to fight the late General Sani Abacha, a tormentor and dictator, to a standstill – would not count for something.

The APC presidential candidate was always going to be a formidable forcedespite the wide-ranging and stinging efforts by his traducersto damage his chances.

Thirdly, Asiwaju Tinubu, in my view, had the best resourced campaign in terms of stakeholder management, messaging, media outreach, mobilisation andbroad appeal. He also achieved more top-of-mind awareness than the other candidates.

Peter Obi benefitted largely from the protest votes – mostly from young Nigerians – against APC and politicians who generally do not keep their promises. He represented an organic and vibrant third force that was not his creation. Obidients believed strongly in him as the much-awaited “messiah”.

After 16 years of PDP and eight years of APC, the general feeling was that life was not getting better but it was doubtful if Obi was ever going to achieve the critical mass needed for a pan-Nigerian mandate at the first attempt under a new party.

He should have stayed back in PDP and worked with others (North and South, Christians and Muslims) for the presidential ticket to be zoned to the South East region.

Maybe, the story could have been different.

But Obi must note that other parties also have their supporters and followers in a country where identity politics is the main meal on the menu. There are so many Obidients who are disappointed that Obi did not win after investing raw emotions into his campaign.

Chimamanda Adichie, a prolific writer and our highly respected “global brand ambassador” whom I admire greatly as a public intellectual, is one of them. I want to assure her that Nigeria will not remain in a “hard place” forever.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo (Baba Iyabo) and Pa Ayo Adebanjo, the Afenifere chieftain, are also disappointed. Overall, Labour Party recorded impressive and significant victories that the party and Obidients can build on in the future.

In a typically dysfunctional environment in which we operate, how was it possible for INEC to score 100 per cent with the process of accreditation and collation of results? I concede that INEC’s overall score of the entire process could have been better, especially in the area of logistics management.

But have you tried to transfer funds lately to see the gravity of the failure of the banking tech platforms? What of telephone calls that are usually frustrated by “poor networks”?

Nonetheless, these shortcomings should not be excuses for the delayed delivery of election materials to any part of Nigeria for the exercise because getting the job done does not require rocket science. If voting commenced at the same time nationwide which is possible, it would have earned INEC a huge approval rating.

Even if we account for unforeseen circumstances, delayed voting can still be managed to the barest minimum. Report after report condemned the late deployment of election materials and the incompetence of some INEC officials and those that allegedly compromised the voting process.

There are professional event management and activation agencies that INEC can work with under the auspices of the Experiential Marketing Agencies of Nigeria (EXMAN) to achieve a seamless experience with voting materials arriving on time for 93 million voters at all the 176,606 polling units nationwide.

Using a mapping model and optimisation theory, 45 EXMAN agencies with excellent track records of performance – working with INEC as consultants –can manage the entire voting process where all the polling units will serve as“experience touch points” in the 774 local government areas.

Each agency may be assigned a cluster of 18 local government areas and 4,000 polling units. If you break down these figures further, you will have an average of 223 polling units for each local council and 550 voters for each unit.

INEC needs to correct the anomaly whereby some polling units had less than 300 voters and by the time you walk a few metres away, the next polling unit will have over 1,000 voters. That is poor distribution that disregards the law of averages and cluster mapping.

No polling unit should have more than 550 voters each – based on 93 million registered voters across 176,606 polling units – so that voting can start and end within schedule. It means there will be no late night voting where torch lights or headlamps of vehicles are used or extension of the exercise to the following day

The primary objective is to ensure that no voter is disenfranchised in the absence of violence. By the way, who recruitsthugs? Is it INEC? Your guess is as good as mine.

From available data, less than 40 per cent of registered voters usually turn up to vote. Voter apathy is still a huge challenge in our elections.

Assuming 50 per cent of the registered voters show up (for the 2023 general elections, that would be about 47 million voters), each polling unit will not have more than 275 voters which will reducelogistics management of election materials and voters by half.

I am aware the president of EXMAN, Tunji Adeyinka, is willing to lead his colleagues to make a formal presentation at the invitation of INEC to sort out these re-current logistics nightmaresin subsequent elections.

To illustrate the point further, there was a time a well-known milk brand sold in every part of Nigeria sponsored a national mathematics competition for secondary schools for 15 years back-to-back. The exam had the distinction of being scandal-free – including leakages that would have compromised the integrity of the competition and damage the image of the brand.

One of the EXMAN agencies was tasked with the organisation of the competition. The maths exam was for junior and senior secondary schools in two parts (theory and objective) in line with WAEC syllabus.

The first stage exam held for both categories in all the 36 states and Abuja at the same time on the same day in more than 200 centres nationwide. Each state had a minimum of three centres based on the senatorial zones.

It meant that sealed question papers and answer sheets were distributed a few days to the exam weekend with non-disclosure agreement (NDA) signed by all the relevant partners.

The answer sheets were then sent to the examiners in Lagos. After assessment, the best two students in each state and the FCT – one each from the junior and senior categories – and their teachers were invited to Lagos for the second stage exam. Usually, they would arrive on Friday and depart on Sunday.

From the 74 students, (37 students from JSS and 37 from SSS), the top 10 in each category and their teachers were invited to Abuja for the national prize-giving ceremony and lodged at Transcorp Hilton for two nights. It was an experience the students always looked forward to. Parents were also free to attend at their own cost.

Were there challenges? Oh yes, the agency had a lorry load of them. Some school principals who wanted to win the top prizes at all cost hired mercenaries to write the maths exam. Such cheating efforts were anticipated and the affected schools were blacklisted.

Now, if such school principals could devise schemes to cheat in much the same way some parents shamelessly procure question papers for their children in an equal-opportunity exam, is it surprising that some bad eggs may also have been recruited by INEC?

We cannot set a different standard for INEC in a society where the prevailing code is to cut corners amid a culture of widespread impunity. The people INEC hires are our friends, brothers and sisters, colleagues and associates; they live with us and did not drop from the moon.

If Nigeria is going to become a better place, everyone must take responsibility for his/her actions and not blame others. It does not matter whether the anomaly is voter suppression, ballot box snatching, vote buying or cheating in an examination – what is bad is bad.

Individually and collectively, let us stand up for what is right because no section of Nigeria is immuned from egregious behaviours that have eroded our values and damaged the moral fabric of society.

Let us wait and see the improvements INEC will make on Saturday March 11 when the gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections take place.

Braimah is a public relations strategist and publisher/editor-in-chief of Naija Times (https://ntm.ng)

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Climate Change And Sustainability

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By Ehi Braimah

Issues around climate change have dominated global conversations since the historic Paris Agreement reached by world leaders on December 12, 2015 at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris. The Agreement is an international treaty which became legally binding on November 4, 2016.

Since climate change poses a huge threat to our humanity, urgent action is required to mitigate its risks and negative impacts for a sustainable future. This perhaps explains why 195 Parties (194 States and the European Union) joined the Paris Agreement which set long-term goals to guide all nations as follows: reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, periodically assess the collective progress being made, and provide financing to developing countries to mitigate the impact of climate change, strengthen resilience and enhance abilities to adapt to climate impacts.

The United Nationsand its agencies and partners (they include UNEP, UNFCCC, etc.), the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are huge resources to guide any study on climate change.

Generally speaking, climate change refers to “long-terms shifts in temperatures and weather patterns,” according to information available on the UN website. “But such shifts can be natural due to changes in the sun’s activity or large volcanic eruptions,” the statement continued.

In Nigeria, we have experienced severe flooding, drought and extreme temperatures lately. These are the consequences of climate change. Other parts of the world are also experiencing the devastating impact of climate change in various dimensions.

The National Assembly passed the Climate Change Bill in 2021 and signed into law by former President Muhammadu Buhari. With this law, the expectation is that Nigeria will achieve net zero carbon emission between 2050 and 2070. To drive a coordinated action on climate change, the same act of parliament created the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC).

Last month, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu established a presidential committee on climate action and green economy. The initiative clearly underscores the need to strengthen our commitment to climate change, especially from the standpoint of accelerating the transitionfrom fossil fuels to renewable energy that are derived from natural sources such as the sun and wind.

The beautyof renewable energy is that they are constantly being replenished which guarantees a sustainable future.

UN Reports indicate that human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.When fossil fuels burn, they generate greenhouse gas emissions that cast a blanket around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising temperatures.
The same Report says if we cannot keep global warming from rising above 1.5°C, then we are in real danger of being exposed to more heat from the sun. The solution is to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, cutting it by half within the next six years and achieving net zero emission by 2050. Whether these goals would be achieved is a matter of conjecture.
Fossil fuels, as studies have shown, are the biggest contributors to theglobal climate change crisis, and poses severe risks to all forms of life. For the record, the main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide and methane. For a moment, just imagine the volume of carbon emissions from the cars on our roads and electricity generators in Nigeria. The result is catastrophic air pollution that endangers our health.
Clearing land and cutting down forests can also release carbon dioxide, according to UNEP reports. Agriculture, oil and gas operations are major sources of methane emissions. Energy, industry, transport, buildings, agriculture and land usecause greenhouse gases.
Apart from the Paris Agreement, there are other global agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals (to make the world a better place by 2030) and the UN Convention on Climate Change to guide progress. However, an SDG Report in 2022 revealed that about two billion people worldwide don’t have access to safe drinking water. If we consider the effects of climate change and a growing population, it means that number is likely go up.

We must understand that climate change hazards do not occur in isolation because the Earth is a system – just like the human body – where everything is connected. It means changes in one area, according to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), can influence changes in others.

It is why the consequences of climate change now include, among others, threats to our health, intense droughts, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms and declining biodiversity.The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) set up the IPCC in 1988.

In a self-made climate change manual, you should include and learn about the effects of climate change which varies depending on your region. You should also add sustainable solutions that include reducing carbon emissions, slowing the pace of global warming, and transition from fossil fuels to clean energy sources.

The manual should note adaptation as a mitigation strategy that delivers economic benefits while also seeking climate justice in the sense that small island nations and developing countries must be supported financially. These countries have fewer resources to cope with the devastating effects of climate change.
When my associates at Climate Action Africa (CAA) decided to launch Climate Action Africa Forum (CAAF24), I took more than a passing interest in climate change and commenced a research on the intersection between climate action and sustainable development.
The executive director and co-founder of CAA, Grace Oluchi Mbah, is leading a team that is organising CAAF24 which is scheduled to hold from June 19 – 20, 2024 at Landmark Centre, Oniru, Lagos. Multi-stakeholder partnerships and collaborations are required to address pressing climate change challenges.

This was why CAA signed a partnership agreement with the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC) in Abuja about four months ago as part of a broader framework to catalyze the climate policy conference.This was followed by a world press conference in Abuja to announce CAAF24. Salisu Dahiru, the former director general of NCCC while speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, said the collaboration was a “pivotal step towards building a climate-resilient Nigeria.”

In her response, Mbah said Nigeria’s vulnerability to climate change necessitates immediate and collective action. “Through this partnership,” she said, “we aspire to harness the power of innovation, sustainable practices, policy dialogue, and community engagement to re-shape Nigeria’s future, and set a global example.”

Clearly, CAAF24 is a bold and innovative response to the climate change challenge in Africa. After the Abuja meeting, CAA received the backing of NCCC for the conference. CAAF24 will host a diverse group of influential thought leaders and environmental champions from the Africa Development Bank (Abidjan), Afrexim Bank (Cairo), World Bank (Washington DC), World Economic Forum (Geneva), and the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (Nairobi).

CAA’s mandate includes fostering climate-resilient communities, driving innovation and contributing to the expansion of Africa’s green economy.

The theme of the conference is, “Green Economy, Brighter Future: Innovating and Investing in Africa’s Climate Smart Development.” One of the keynote speakers is Ms. Ramatoulaye Diallo N’Diaye, a former minister of culture in Mali, and the founder/CEO of the Great Green Wall of Africa (GGWoA) Foundation with a mission and unwavering commitment to restoring African forests and reversing the ravaging effects of climate change in the continent.

The list of speakers also include Tokunbo Wahab, Honourable Commissioner for environment and water resources, Lagos State; Markus Wauschkuhn, Cluster Coordinator, Sustainable Economic Development Cluster of GIZ Nigeria and ECOWAS, and Gerald Esambe, Principal Officer, Climate and Green Growth Department at African Development Bank Group.

Others are Kingsley Uranta, General Manager at Channels TV; Bankole Michael from the Lagos State Climate Change department, Ms. Helen Brume, representing the President of Afrexim Bank; Edith Jibunoh, External and Corporate Relations (ECR) Manager for East and Southern Africa representing the World Bank; OlalekanOgunleye, Executive Vice President, Gas, Power & New Energy, NNPC Ltd and others.

The organisers of the conference are worried about the impact of climate change in Africa. Mbah said the following themes would be explored with nuance by the speakers and facilitators: changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, air pollution, forced displacements, water scarcity, food insecurity, hunger and poor nutrition, desertification, declining GDP, and limited adaptive capacity.

According to her, CAAF is building a platform for Africa to lead the change in addressing global climate issues. With over 3,600 registered attendees, and more than 600 applications for its Deal Room and Workshops, CAAF24 is on track to be an unprecedented hub for climate action and sustainable energy transition in Africa.

CAAF Deal Room is a ground-breaking idea and strategic initiativethat aims to connect high impact climate innovators in Africa with potential investors seeking to accelerate sustainable solutions. The objective of the Deal Room is to select finalists who would have the opportunity to pitch their ideas and solutions during CAAF24.

The deals will include prize money, equity, debt financing, mergers and acquisitions as well as other investment options. Those eligible to apply include venture capitalists, impact investors, climate-tech startups, Green SMEs, and not-for-profit organisations. Applications for the Deal Room opened on April 22, and closed on May 17, 2024.

It would be nice for the organisers of CAAF24 to extend an invitation to the new director general of NCCC, Dr. Nkiruka Maduekwe, as a special guest of honour. I am using this opportunity to congratulatethe DG on her well-deserved appointment announced last Sunday.

Braimah is a global public relations consultant and marketing strategist. He is also the publisher/editor-in-chief of Naija Times (https://ntm.ng) and Lagos Post (https://lagospost.ng), and can be reached via hello@neomedia.com.ng.


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Tinubu’s Steady Progress In Power Sector

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By Bello Aminu

Despite cynical analysis of the power sector by critics, Bello Aminu argues that the president is making steady progress in the complex industry

To be sure, Nigeria’s power supply crisis is a multi-decade, multi-faceted challenge, defying even some of the country’s most respected public figures who were picked in the past to oversee the sector.

A deputy minister who once headed the ministry said in 2012 that Nigerians must resolve to exorcise the ‘evil spirit’ preventing the country from making headway in its efforts to banish darkness from the government. Ultimately, she left the country in more darkness than she met it.

Although it’s still too early for an in-depth assessment of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in terms of the progress made in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), one thing is certain: The president is not taking his pledge to ‘light up’ the country lightly.

So, on the 1st anniversary of the Tinubu administration, it would not be out of place to appraise the initial steps taken to ensure that the electricity supply gap is bridged as soon as possible.

The president clearly understands the critical role that a reliable power supply plays in any modern economy. That was why in his 2024 New Year message to Nigerians, he expressed his intention to fast-track electricity projects and private investments into the power sector.

“My administration recognises that no meaningful economic transformation can happen without a steady electricity supply in 2024,” the president said. Since then, the president has moved to back his words up with the necessary action.

Cognisant of how much the unnecessary over-centralisation of the power sector has negatively impacted the growth of the industry for decades, days after he took over the reins of power, the president immediately moved to decentralise and liberalise the sector.

The reforms in the sector took him first to the amendment of the Electricity Act, to break the federal government’s monopoly in electricity generation, transmission and distribution nationwide.

With the amendment, that law now allows the subnational governments to take charge of the entire value chain of power supply management in their jurisdictions, marking a major shift from the past where leaving the power sector in the exclusive legislative list only hobbled the development of the industry.

Several states, including Enugu, Ondo, and Ekiti, have since started setting up their electricity regulatory bodies in preparation for the new conducive environment being created by the current administration.

Secondly, President Tinubu, with a full grasp of the negative impact that legacy and current debts owed the operators in the power supply value chain were having on the system, especially Generation Companies (GenCoS) as well as Gas Companies (GasCos), has since moved to offset the huge outstanding.

Penultimate week, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, to the relief of operators, announced that the president had approved that N130 billion be paid from the gas stabilisation fund to the gas suppliers.

Earlier, the Coordinating Director of the ‘Decade of Gas,’ Ed Ubong, had also made it public at an event in Abuja that over $120 million had been paid as part of the dollar-denominated debts owed gas suppliers.

This is expected to go a long way in providing some level of liquidity to the suppliers and therefore by extension put the power supply to the grid in a better stead.

Thirdly, although still meagre when compared with Nigeria’s massive population of over 200 million persons, there has been a substantial ramping up of electricity supply throughout the value chain, meaning that for the first time in three years, over 5,000mw of power was achieved on May 3, 2024.

The minister of power, Adelabu, has further assured that in the coming months, this will be increased to 6,000mw from an average of about 4,000mw, describing even the current increase as still unacceptable.

“Beyond paying the legacy debts, we’re moving around 4,000mw, 4,500mw and it is no longer acceptable. So what we are looking at is to have an agreement to ramp up to a minimum of 6,000mw within the next three to six months.

“I believe we still have the infrastructure to generate between 6,000mw and 6,500mw. In terms of the generating companies, I have no doubt in my mind that the existing capacity can give us 6,500mw once there is stability in the supply of gas,” the minister assured.

In addition, in November last year, the president met with the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz on the sidelines of the G20 Compact with Africa Economic Conference in Berlin, Germany in his abiding effort to ensure that the power supply challenge is resolved.

The crux of that discussion was on the current Siemens Power project under the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) and with the support of the German government, which seeks to clean up the entire power supply value chain and remove extant bottlenecks.

In all, the scheme seeks to first deliver 7,000mw of electricity to the national grid in phase one, ramp it up to 11,000mw in phase two of the programme and then expand the country’s electricity supply to 25,000mw in the third phase.

Before Tinubu became president, timelines had been missed already. But to underscore his seriousness with going forward with the Siemens deal, the president followed up the first meeting with the German Chancellor with another one in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December, leading to the signing of agreements to accelerate the scheme.

In all of these, what has become obvious is that on the power supply issue, President Tinubu is not resting on his oars, not since he became Nigeria’s leader. To underscore its renewed commitment to the project, Siemens Energy has also successfully delivered 10 units of power transformers and 10 units of mobile substations on the back of that deal in the last few months.

On the important issue of metering, the federal government is looking to achieve an injection of 3.5 million meters into the power sector, comprising 1.5 million meters through the World Bank Distribution Support Recovery Programme and 2 million meters through the Presidential Metering Initiative.

This is very important because with more metering, the constant illiquidity in the power sector is expected to reduce considerably and with more funds available, additional investment will be made by the operators and ultimately lead to the achievement of economies of scale. With economies of scale will come a likely taming of tariffs, especially like the recent one for premium electricity customers.

Concerning the perennial challenges surrounding the metering of military formations in the country, the federal government recently announced the release of N12.7 billion to provide meters in those facilities across the country. Already, 50,000 prepaid electricity meters have been procured and are to be installed in military establishments across the country.

It appears unfair to judge a nascent government on a sector as problematic as the power sector in its first 365 days in office, but even if we were to go that route, it’s not all gloom and doom. The Tinubu government appears to know exactly what to do and how to do it in the power sector.


Aminu, an energy economist, writes from Kano

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Tinubu’s Economic Reforms And Prospects For Prosperous Future

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By Adebanjo Mokolu

When President Bola Tinubu took office at the helm of Africa’s largest democracy, he said in my inaugural address that Nigeria is “too great a nation and too grounded as a people to rob ourselves of our finest destiny.” It was a statement of commitment to govern and not rule, to consult and dialogue but never dictate. Now that we are a year into the Tinubu era, it would be useful to reflect on its achievements and the foundations it is building for a prosperous future.

President Tinubu inherited an economy that despite its latent advantages – abundant natural and mineral resources, a warm year-round climate that guarantees high agricultural output, proximity to key world markets in the East and West and a world-class education that consistently produces some of the world’s best doctors, engineers and creative talent – was underperforming. Over the past year, it has spent time pruning the rough edges while tackling some of the big ‘untouchables’ of Nigerian politics.

On day one, expensive fuel subsidies that disproportionately disadvantaged lower-income Nigerians were removed and with those savings, the government has embarked on a programme of reinvesting in infrastructure, including new airport terminals, upgraded seaports, refurbishing roads as well as improved primary healthcare centres and basic educational facilities. All of this has meant that Nigeria is growing at the fastest pace since the Covid-19 pandemic; new numbers showing an almost 3% growth in Q1 2024 following 3.46% in Q4 2023.

The power sector has also been liberalised to better serve the millions of Nigerians that the former national power company has historically underserved. We removed subsidies which benefited about 15% of customers and authorised an increase in tariffs in order to position the private electricity providers, and the wider sector, as an attractive investment proposition. The new Electricity Act, one of the first laws President Tinubu signed in June 2023, has strengthened the governing structure of the electricity regulator, including empowering it to severely sanction electricity distribution companies for infractions relating to billings and power supply. By introducing a 5-tier billing system, the administration has incentivised players to supply electricity at market-reflective rates to those who can afford it while guaranteeing electricity access for everyone and protecting low-income households from the highest tariffs. As a result, Nigeria is generating more electricity than it ever has and the country’s 11 distribution companies are setting new records for billings, collections and revenue recovery. The government is also relentlessly committed to connecting more Nigerians to electricity; days ago, the President approved a $750 million World Bank funding for the construction of 1,200 mini-grids in rural communities across the country.

More Nigerians are employed in agriculture than in any other activity. The twin challenges of food security and climate change have made it imperative for the Tinubu administration to future-proof our agricultural systems. Through the dry season farming initiative which aims to ensure year-round farming and bolster food production, wheat, rice, cassava, and maize cultivation has been expanded on about 500,000 hectares of farmland.

States such as Kebbi are now a hub of tomato farming and processing in the country through public-private collaboration that has led to the development of one of the biggest tomato paste factories in West Africa. Niger State has been able to attract $1 billion in investment for agricultural mechanisation and technology within the past six months. Nationally, we are currently in the middle of a quiet hydroponic revolution where residents in urban areas are growing herbs, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and peppers in nutrient-rich water solutions. This has ensured that many families are now unlocking a supplementary income stream. The government’s policies have been instrumental in supporting and enhancing this segment of the agricultural sector.

Despite these great first steps, more remains to be done. The government is in the process of simplifying our tax laws to make it easier for businesses to invest in their people and processes as well as streamline government processes by utilising smart policy setting and technology. It is now easier for Nigerians to go abroad through a new and seamless passport application process which has cut the average time from about six weeks to three. Additionally, visiting Nigeria from any part of the world is now much easier through enhanced e-visa protocols. The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council is working night and day to ensure that our entrepreneurs and investors can obtain permits, rent office space and file compliance documents seamlessly. Over the next few months, more initiatives and programs in this direction will be rolled out.

As Africa’s primary oil and gas producer, energy has always been a critical part of our economy. The current administration has strengthened recent laws and regulations to grow the share of oil and gas that is produced by Nigerian companies as well as Nigerian talent in the foreign companies which operate in our market. The Petroleum Industry Act and the new regulatory bodies that have been created have introduced certainty and market access after almost two decades of operator uncertainty about their investments in our country.
The Tinubu administration has expanded our security footprint to safeguard critical energy assets and squarely address the security challenges – particularly oil theft and pipeline damage – in the oil-producing Niger Delta region. Working collaboratively with the 6 states in the region, the security agencies are making record seizures of illegally obtained crude products as well as uncovering a near-record number of illegal pipe connections. We are also making important investments in building a clean energy economy. The President has established and will chair a committee on climate action and green economic solutions which will coordinate and oversee all policies and programmes on climate action and green economic development.

Important challenges remain. Inflation is moderating but from a high price point. That’s why the administration is investing in the most important resource any nation can have, its people. The national social investment agency has been retooled to serve better the 15 million vulnerable households it will provide conditional cash transfers to ride out the cost of living situation among its other interventions. There is now a consumer credit corporation with a mission to accelerate consumer credit access to 50% of working Nigerians by 2030 to innovate and build our economy of the future. 1.6 million Nigerians have already applied for its flagship consumer credit scheme.

In Africa, democracy is having a tough moment. Governments across the continent are under pressure to deliver on the often-called dividends of democracy – security, education, increased living standards and a certain future. In the middle of West Africa, there’s a government that, despite fits and starts, is rising up to the challenge. Just as he pledged during his electoral campaign, it appears that President Tinubu is poised to make this a truly historic Nigerian moment.


-Mokolu is an economist and public affairs commentator. He writes from Ibadan.

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