By Joseph Ayinde
The Federal Government said yesterday that about 30 per cent of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings is spent on petroleum products importation.
But the government believes that the trend could be halted if the nation’s refineries were functioning and projects like Dangote Refinery come on board.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha spoke yesterday at the Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat in Abuja.
Mustapha said the nation’s refineries will become functional “from 18 months through to 48 months,” while the Dangote Refinery will be inaugurated next year.
He said that the nation’s foreign exchange market could be boosted through proper management of the Education and Health sectors. He explained that Nigeria stood to gain a lot if the huge resources spent on services abroad were preserved in the national economy.
Mustapha also announced implementation measures in stabilising the macroeconomics and the plan by the government to unveil a national Agriculture policy in December.
The SGF said: “Both the fiscal and monetary authorities must work closely together to achieve appropriate monetary and fiscal policy mix.
“To manage exchange rate better: There is a need to fix the Education and Health sectors so that Nigerians can study at home and receive medical care at home, thereby saving the huge foreign exchange expended on overseas education and medical care.
“Up to 30 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange is spent on petroleum imports; when projects like Dangote Refinery comes on stream, and our refineries are fixed, they will save and also generate foreign exchange, and we can have a much-improved exchange rate regime.
“Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the CBN is determined to pursue price stability that is good for economic growth.”
On the current status of the Siemens MOU, he said a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has been formed, and the Memorandum of Understanding has been signed.
He added that the Environmental Impact Assessment and Right of Way studies are ongoing and that “very soon, the engineering, procurement, and construction will commence and the targets of 7,000 MW (Phase 1), 11,000 MW (2nd Phase) and 25,000 MW (3rd Phase) will follow.”
Mustapha added: “The third Phase affects the entire power value chain of generation, transmission, and distribution. On overcoming constraints to power distribution, There is need to consider subsidising electricity production which will impact on jobs and industries.”
He also said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is working to develop a new Agriculture policy for 2020 – 2025.
“Commodity exchange will come on stream by the end of 2021 or Q1 of 2022, at the latest,” he added.
On Transportation, he said, “The ministry will renew efforts on passing the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) Bill that will unbundle the NRC and allow PPPs in operations of the Railway.”