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WE WILL END POWER SECTOR PROBLEM IN 5 YEARS – JONATHAN

By NBF News
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President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan has identified greed as the cankerworm that was destroying the fabric that held the nation together, even as he has given a deadline of five years within which the issue of power will be laid to rest, admitting, however, that the issue of bunkering in the Niger Delta region has become intractable.

Speaking yesterday at the 2010 Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan said: 'The problem we have now in the Niger Delta is not militancy. Our greatest headache in the region is the high scale bunkering going on in the place'

The President recalled the issue of militancy in the region saying that it started from the time of the late Isaac Boro.

He admitted that the government's amnesty programme is facing some hiccups while assuring that the government was on top of the matter and must ensure the success of the amnesty programme. He explained the large scale bunkering in the Niger Delta region has become the greatest headache of government. To this effect, he ordered the Chief of Staff to wade into the matter with a view to preserving the country's resources.

While blaming policy inconsistent of government as one of the reasons for the poor power situation in the country, he insisted that no matter how rich the vision is, there must be a stable government for it to succeed.

'Investment in power is not consistent because of instability. The nation cannot grow without investment in power' he maintained.

On the issue of greed in the country, Jonathan said: 'our problem in Nigeria is not corruption. Corruption is just a factor of greed. People steal what they don't need. This is the major challenge we are facing as a nation.'

This was even as he said that the incidences of kidnapping in parts of the country was commercial as well as criminal which must be separated from the communal restiveness in the Niger Delta and assured that the dastardly act must end within the next 12 months.

The President who was a member of a panel at the Presidential Policy Dialogue, acknowledged that the people were becoming frustrated with the state of affairs in the country as if there was no hope. The main cause of the situation of near anomie, he pointed, was the level of unemployment in the country and added, 'you don't create jobs with a magic wand. The government alone cannot do it. What is needed is an enabling environment for the private sector to play its designed role.'

Still on corruption, the President said that the cankerworm would be ameliorated in the next five years as the federal government would strengthen institutions that could enforce all the laws put in place to ensure that no ox is gored even as he admonished the leadership to live up to its words and do what they say.

On the problem of the power sector, the president lamented that 'for 18 years, there was no investment in the sector because of instability in the polity as result of constant change in governments and policies.'

However, he expressed the optimism that in the next five years the problem in the power sector would be a thing of the past as it would stimulate other sectors and to a reasonable extent provide a leeway out of the unemployment logjam.

To achieve this, Jonathan said that 'from next year, the capital budget will

be driven by the Planning Ministry so that everyone will key into it. The

budgetary pattern will follow the Vision 202020 document'.