Speaking in an exclusive interview with Sunday Vanguard in Lagos, Okupe said the Jonathan administration inherited five major challenges in the power sector namely, low generation capacity, comatose NIPP projects, poor and inadequate gas supply and non-alignment of gas infrastructure with the location of the NIPP projects, poor and dilapidated transmission infrastructure and non-implementation of the privatization exercise in the sector.
According to the presidential aide, within two years of the Jonathan presidency, four of those challenges have been substantially resolved and the only outstanding one, which has to do with transmission and distribution, will be resolved in the next 12 to 15 months.
“Some of the transmission projects completed by the Jonathan administration within two years are Ganmo, Sapele, Katanpe, Mando, Kubotso, Alaoji, Ikeja West, Oworonsoki, Ojo, New Haven, Ajaokuta, Abuja, and Ihovbor. It is also during this period that Nigeria attained a peak generation of 4, 517 and we are certainly looking at about 10,000 megawatts by December this year.”
According to him, the agricultural sector is another area where giant strides have been attained by the Jonathan administration with the progress made in rice, cotton and cassava production while making single digit loan available to farmers nationwide with the attendant potential of creating millions of jobs.
In the aviation industry, he said over fifty percent of the nation’s airports have been rehabilitated and plans underway to assist indigenous airlines acquire new planes to end the era of avoidable crashes in the country.
He explained that the moribund rail transportation is being revitalized nationwide.
On the provision of road infrastructure, Okupe said major critical road projects in the country have been fully or in the process of rehabilitation. They include Benin Ore Road, Kano Maiduguri dual carriage way and Port Harcourt-Enugu Road. “This administration is also making efforts to construct the Second Niger Bridge and the East West Road. The first of its kind multi lane dual carriage Lagos Ibadan Express road of which the design has been fully completed will be ready in the next 24 months.
“On the economy, the administration has been able to establish micro economic stability upon which we can now build in order to further improve on the standard of living and well-being of citizens.
“We have an excess crude oil account with a surplus of over 9 billion dollars, a foreign reserve of over 48 billion dollars, a Sovereign Wealth Fund of 1 billion dollars, a World Bank projected growth rate of about 6.5 which is the highest in the sub region and an inflation rate descent to 8.5 percent from 11 percent in the previous year.”