Former Vice President and frontline Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential aspirant, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has assured that if he is elected president of the country in the 2019 election he will work to increase electricity generation in the country by ensuring full participation of private sector in the business of power generation.
Atiku who spoke at the weekend while responding to various questions on his tweeter handle @Atiku, bordering on how he intends to find solutions to salient problems of national unity, unemployment, security and some other topics on Nigeria’s development assured that he will issue licences to enable the private sector invest in mini-grid capabilities to service local communities or local governments, states, regions or target industrial clusters.
According to him, “Our electricity generation plan shall be diversified to include clean energy (hydro, solar and nuclear) in addition to natural gas.
As you may be aware, the transmission infrastructure of the power sector is ageing and in dire need of investment.
“In the mean time we shall consider concessioning to private sector segments of the national grid under some form of PPP over a period of time.”
Speaking on his plan for the security sector, which has become a big issue in the country, Atiku said, “we must understand the root causes of the security challenges in the North. The full economic potentials of the region remain undeveloped resulting in high rates of youth unemployment, high levels of poverty and deprivation and income inequality.
“Access to education is more restricted, resulting in more out of school children in the North than anywhere else in Nigeria. Unless these issues are tackled, youth restiveness, sectarian violence and other acts of insurgency and terrorism shall continue to bedevil the region.
“My first critical policy priority therefore is to support the northern states in rebuilding their economies and opening up economic opportunities for their citizens. This will reduce frustration and alienation and minimise grievances.
“We shall same time undertake a comprehensive review of our security architecture and enhance its preparedness to meet challenges. As part of the review we shall commence the gradual process of instituting state police and community policing in line with principle of restructuring.”
He also spoke on his plan to create jobs for the yeeming youth population of the country, “On jobs, as long as growth of the economy is driven by the oil sector, job creation is bound to suffer. To tackle the job and poverty challenges bedeviling the economy, we shall focus on four areas.
“First, we shall stimulate the growth of those economic sectors which are considered the domain of the poor – i.e Agriculture and Micro & Small Enterprises.
“For the MSE sector, we shall set up a Venture Capital Fund to enhance their access to finance and hence their ability to grow and employ more hands.
“Second, we shall set up a National Innovation Fund to support budding entrepreneurs, especially young men and women with brilliant ideas.
“Thirdly, we shall promote a Special Apprenticeship Programme that will support the training of up to 1,000,000 youths (including NYSC) each year in diverse fields, by local master crafts persons. While they undergo the training, we shall match them with potential employers.
“Fourth area of focus is the aggressive promotion of Nigeria as Africa’s leading business process outsourcing destination with potential to create two million direct and indirect jobs.
“Our goal is to ensure that Nigeria fully explores the vast opportunities that abound in the global market for IT and IT-enabled services to create quality jobs for our youth,” he said.