FG Plans N31TRN Expenditure On Economic Reforms - Jonathan

Source: EWACHE AJEFU, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, Sept 13, (THEWILL) - The federal government says it has started the reengineering of economic policies with a view to positioning the country for the attainment of her goal of becoming one of the world's greatest economies by 2020.

Areas of focus where the government is currently undertaking key reforms include the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Power, Oil and Gas, Banking Sector as well as the Capital Market.

President Goodluck Jonathan disclosed this at the opening session of the 10th meeting of the Honorary International Investor Council (HIIC), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, adding that the country would need about N31 trillion ($200 billion) to achieve the goals.

"Current estimates indicate that we require about N31 trillion or approximately $200 billion in investments to realize the economic transformation that we envision," the president said, but noted however that funding gaps exist in the financial estimate.

"One of the ways we can fill this gap is through increased international investment and we are taking all the steps necessary to improve Nigeria as an investment destination.

"We have a new Electoral Act, which significantly improves INEC’s ability to conduct free and fair elections. We have also appointed globally acclaimed men and women of integrity to conduct the elections. All that is now required is the support and cooperation of everybody," he said.

"I believe that we are now at the tipping point of Nigeria’s social, political and economic transformation. We will however have to work more closely in order to bridge the funding gap that we see as an impediment to meeting our target of placing Nigeria amongst the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020," Jonathan insisted.

The president said as a major factor in re-engineering the economic policies of the nation, "we recently launched the electric power road map and have forwarded the list of appointees into Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to the Senate to signpost the diligent implementation of the Electric Power Sector Reform Bill of 2005 which will enhance the provision of stable electricity based on a model that has worked here in Nigeria in the telecommunications sector and elsewhere in the power sector", her said.

Jonathan also said the government has taken a far reaching step to reform the oil and gas sector with the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Bill and the Nigeria Content Development Law stressing that the government is "aware of some concerns raised by a few of the international oil companies and we are addressing some of these concerns within the context of fairness and our national interests.

"We have enacted the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) bill. AMCON will ring-fence a significant portion of the impaired assets of our banks and help restore the financial health of the banks," he said.

"In addition, we are currently in the process of issuing our first $500 million bond issue which we will facilitate the speedy resolution of commercial disputes and enable banks take possession of and liquidate security in a more efficient fashion, are being studied.

"I am convinced that with the reforms and strengthening of our public institutions, we are effectively eliminating the key foundations and support systems that have allowed corruption to thrive in Nigeria," Jonathan assured.