Secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha has said up to 30 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange is spent on petroleum imports.

He stated this yesterday in his closing remarks at the Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat Abuja, at the Presidential Villa.

He 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% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange is spent on petroleum imports; when projects like Dangote Refinery come 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.”

He further stated that there is a need to pragmatically deal with the issues of oil subsidy and ensure that subsidy removal does not further suffocate the economy.

“Ensure effective implementation of the Medium Term National Development Plan; and work with States to domesticate the Plan in their respective states.

“Pursue improvement in revenue and revenue collection efficiency through better implementation of the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiatives (SRGI).

“Population census and housing survey have been provided for in the budget to be affected by 2022.

In agriculture and food Security, the SGF said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is working to develop a new policy for 2020 – 2025.

He said to address, amongst others the following: Increased small scale holders’ capacity; increased research and innovation; Reforms on farm inputs which is critical for small scale holders; improved agricultural financing.

According to him, the new agricultural policy will be out by December 2021.

He also stated that to facilitate policy execution and forestall a resistance to government interventions there is need to engage stakeholders more in the policy development process,especially regarding policies that will affect them.

“To enhance food security and lower food prices, there is a need to also focus on commercial and industrial farmers and not only on small holders.

“Commodity Exchange will come on stream by the end of 2021 or Q1 of 2022 at the latest.

“On agriculture and environment, there is a need to align the National Adoption Plans with the agricultural plans and policies,” Mustapha said.

The SGF remarked that there is also a need to accelerate the climate change bill.

On the current status of the Siemens MOU, he said a Special Purpose Vehicle has been formed, and the Memorandum of Understanding has been signed.

He said the Environmental Impact Assessment and Right of Way studies are ongoing. 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.

“The 3rd Phase affects the entire Power value chain of generation, transmission, and distribution.

“To overcome constraints to power distribution, there is a need to consider subsidizing electricity production which will impact jobs and industries.

“On timing the completion of refineries repairs to align with rehabilitation of the pipelines, storage depots and jetties. This is being done. The various refineries under repairs will become functional from 18 months through to 48 months.”

Commenting on the Dangote Refinery, he attributed the delays to COVID-19 induced supply chain disruptions. He however said the challenges are being overcome and the commissioning of the project will hold in 2022.

He said, “How do we improve Transportation and Other Infrastructure? On up-scaling Public Private Partnerships (PPPs):

“The Bureau of Public Enterprises has collated 110 projects for consideration for PPPs.

“BPE is putting together an asset register for the country that is aimed at unlocking liquidity. The asset register will be ready by December 2021.”

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. However, priority is on completing and operationalising the ongoing railway projects.

On airport concessioning, Mustapha said “there is a Master Plan being followed. Concession advisers have now been appointed. Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) have been issued and airport operators world-over have responded.

“RFQs are currently under review. Requests for proposals will go out by 25th October 2021. And so, by April 2022, the airports would, if the process goes as planned, be delivered to the concessionaires/ private sector operators,” he added.