… Experts call for state of emergency in power sector
By Steve Agbota
An estimated $180 billion of Nigeria’s stolen wealth currently belated to have been stashed away in foreign banks around the world, with stakeholders call for state of emergency in power sector.
Speaking at the Policy Town hall with a talk; “Conglomerate Governance in a Prebendal State: Is True Federalism the Answer?”organised by The Liberal Forum at the University of Lagos, former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, said that it was very unlikely that the stolen money will ever come back into the country.
On how to recover the money, he said: “We need a moratorium on stolen wealth. I mean stolen wealth that has been taking out of the country. Let us declare a two-year moratorim, that is to say, from going back to 1980, any money somebody stole and took away, within two years just bring it back, invest and create jobs for young people and such people who return any stolen money will be forgiven. We should also extend the whistle blower policy to foreign people. If we declare moratorium policy, close to $100 billion will come back to this country since they know that nobody will prosecute them and the recession will disappear automatically.”
However, he said there is need to equally declared state of emergency on power sector, saying if Nigeria could solve the power problem, and infrastructural deficit, it would surprise the world; economy would boom considerably.
He added: “ There are some econometric studies that show solving the power problem alone will increase our GDP by over 62 per cent. We should think outside the box, We don’t need any nuclear energy. We need to power our people because it breaks my heart when I visit hotels and industries where people spent huge money on diesel and fuel to power generators. “How on earth do we expect to compete with the rest of the world when we are fueling our factories and the rest through diesel. Nigeria is the biggest diesel and generator importing nation in the world and that is a big scandal.”
Also speaking at the event, former Minister of Finance, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, said in the last eight years, Nigeria’s economy has really not been funded adequately. Said he: The essence of full funding means that when you mobilise enough funds, then it will translate to the way you can manipulate exchange rate and also the cost of fund or interest rate among others. How you now manage your fiscal and monetary policy to make sure that you are able to cater for the need of small producers, medium scale producers and large scale producers.”
According to him, government has to take action immediately on the power sector, adding that government can’t give out a power plant to people who do not understand the technology of managing them because of how it affects virtually everything else in the economy.