The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the creation of an industrial council headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to stimulate the activities of industries in the country.
Yesterday’s council meeting was the first since President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country from medical vacation in London.
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting which lasted about three hours, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, said the industrial council will engage other stakeholders, particularly the private sector to come up with a policy for the sector.
Enelamah explained that the industrial council would have two vice presidents from both the government and the private sector with membership drawn from relevant ministries.
“The main objective of this council is to assist the government in formulating policies and strategies that would enhance the performance of the industrial sector,” he said.
The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, disclosed that the council approved N263 million for three research institutions to produce gum arabic seedlings for Nigerian farmers.
He said gum arabic is a major crop in the northern part of the country, stretching from Borno to Zamfara, so seventeen of those states would grow the seedlings for export.
According to the minister, Nigeria earned $43 million from export of gum arabic last year and more will be earned with increased production, especially as the commodity is in high demand in other countries.
Government also approved N701 billion as Power Assurance Guarantee for the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Company, according to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.
The facility, which will be made available by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), is to guarantee the payment for the evacuation of power produced by Generating Companies (GenCos) for the national grid.
Fashola said that the amount would be drawn on a monthly basis in order to tackle liquidity challenges being faced by GenCos. He explained that NBET would pay GenCos in arrears of electricity generated as a deliberate step to improve their confidence and that of intending investors into the sector.