As Nigeria seeks innovation and money from otherwise hidden places to revive her ailing economy, a handful of newly appointed ministers have come out to tell what nature of rabbits they intend to pull out of their thinking hats to deliver solution.
At a colourful event on Monday, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu charged members of his newly assembled cabinet to focus on rendering service to the larger nation, rather than to their states or smaller localities.
“You are not a minister of a particular state, colony, region, or ethnic nationality. You are a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is all about the cohesion and work of a great team, and I believe we now have it.
“It is an honour to be chosen to serve as a minister in the Federal Executive Council, and such a high honour comes with tremendous responsibility,” President Tinubu said at the swearing in ceremony, adding that Nigerians were expecting excellent service delivery, accountability and transparency from them.
Adebayo Adelabu, Minister of Power, assured Nigerians that the power sector will be made to work, so as to assist massive industrial production, efficient functioning of educational institutions, small businesses and others.
“We will foster robust partnerships between the private and public sectors, working collectively to enhance our nation’s economic and social well-being. Our focus will extend to aspects of life that truly matter: households, small businesses, educational institutions and massive industrial production and beyond.
“A significant goal is the universal metering of households and addressing the challenges our national power grid faces. We will equally pay critical attention to the options of renewable and alternative energies,” Adelabu said.
It would be recalled that Nigeria’s power sector has been indifferent to the many policy reforms implemented in the past. At the end of the first quarter of 2023, the total electricity supply across the nation, amounted to 5,852 GWh with the total billed customers was 5.31 million.
Dr Beta Edu, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Ministry, stressed that the most important task before her ministry is to lift 133 million Nigerians out of poverty, admitting that while the task is difficult, it is not impossible.
“What is most important is that we will keep our focus on lifting 133 million Nigerians out of poverty. We can do it in phases, a step at a time, because with determination and strong will, nothing is impossible.
“We will also achieve the feat with the strong political backing from His Excellency, President Bola Tinubu and every member of the cabinet. We will play down on politics; we are here to face the real business of governance,” Imran Muhammed, a social media influencer said, quoting the minister.
As decarbonisation buy-in spreads, the world is fast searching for alternatives to fossil fuels, with Nigeria not being left out of the trend. That was why Rt. Hon. Obongemem Ekperikpe Ekpo, Minister for State, Gas Resources, assured the nation on Monday that the energy transition would not deal a major blow to Nigeria’s foreign revenue sources.
The European Union, North America and some Asian economic giants have announced that in less than a decade, their economies will transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and Nigeria must begin to look for alternatives that will augment its revenues from the sale of crude.
“The removal of fuel subsidy has placed the responsibility of providing a sustainable alternative to petrol on us in the ministry. I am committed to ensuring that together, we will deliver on this onerous task of building an economically viable and environmentally sustainable gas utilization framework and developing infrastructure for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“Nigeria’s proven natural gas reserves bless the country as one of the nations with the greatest gas reserves globally. It is certain that harnessing this would stimulate the domestic economy in addition to optimising the domestic utilisation of gas; it would support hundreds of thousands of jobs within the local economy.
“This comprehensive evaluation will lay the foundation for harnessing Nigeria’s gas industry potential, strengthening the entire gas value chain from exploration to distribution,” Ekpo said on Monday.
Shuaibu Audu, Minister of Steel Development emphasised the need to revamp the over 40-year-old Ajaokuta Steel Complex, adding that a bill will be introduced to regulate the nation’s steel industry.
He gave the assurance even as it was reported that the Federal Government had paid a total of N446 million to clear off the judgment debt on the Ajaokuta Steel Complex, according to The Voice of Nigeria.
“Steel development is synonymous with the Ajaokuta Steel plant, whose commencement was over 40 years ago. We aim to start the engine and ensure that we produce at least a small sheet of steel within this administration.
“It is a known fact that steel is the feedstock of any nation’s development; if gotten right, it may be the beginning of our industrial revolution,” Audu said.