26 June 2012 – President Goodluck Jonathan has Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a Brazilian firm, Electrobas, on the development of power projects in Nigeria.
This came as the President reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to sustainable development of the country.
He made this position known while delivering his statement to the plenary session of the on-going United Nations Conference on Sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The event took place during a breakfast meeting of the Nigeria-Brazil Rio+20 Business Forum at the on-going United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development.
According to the president, the agreement is expected to accelerate the development of the power projects in Nigeria and therefore improve power supply in the country.
"This is a preparatory gathering towards that visit and meeting. I will also make a state visit to Brazil in 2013. These visits, I believe, would foster harmony between the two countries further," he noted, stressing that, "Brazil and Nigeria’s relationship has been cordial. I had a discussion with Brazilian President yesterday and we agreed she will visit with robust private sector team.
In his remarks, the Minister of Power, Prof, Barth Nnaji, stated that up until now the power sector was never unbundled and given room to the private sector but monopolised by the Nigerian government, thus encouraging corruption.
He said so far the Electricity Reform Act 2005 has led to the unbundling of the monopoly to 18 companies. His Brazillian counterpart, Mr. Edison Lobao, described the signing of the MoU as the beginning of a lasting and enduring cooperation between the two countries.
A statement signed by the president’s spokesperson, Dr. Reuben Abati, said President Jonathan re-affirmed his position that the federal government is determined to create more job opportunities for Nigerians.
"In our sustainable development agenda, under our medium to long term National Plans, we have developed several sectoral initiatives, particularly in agriculture, petroleum, solid minerals, power supply, renewable energy, trade and investment, water and sanitation, which accord priority to environmental and wider development issues," the president said.
He added: "Our goal is simple: Create more jobs and opportunities for our people to rise out of poverty, create wealth to ensure sustainable development."
"For us in Africa, the Green Economy is an agenda for growth, wealth creation and employment generation. We believe that the promotion of a Green Economy must be underlined by clear national objectives, social and economic development imperatives and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals," the President said.
He also observed that "while we recognize that the developing countries have primary responsibility for implementing their own sustainable development agenda, there is no doubt that they need the support of the international community to achieve these objectives."
He reflected that "in effect, Rio+20 can only be seen to be successful if the thorny issue of the means of implementation is adequately addressed. We must bridge the yawning gaps undermining the fulfilment of international commitments on sustainable development, especially in areas of finance, external debt, trade and investment, capacity building and technology development."
"Today, we have a unique opportunity to reshape the future and redefine the relationship between human advancement and environmental sustainability, by ensuring that we join, in a collective effort, to reduce the conflict between human development and environmental conservation.
"Twenty years ago at the ‘Earth Summit’, we made a number of pledges. Today, twenty years later, it is evident, that there is still a lot more that we need to do. Working together to develop ‘green economies’, offers us a greater chance of a sustainable future. And that work must be intensified now.
"As our challenges are collective, both in nature and consequence, our responses must also be collective, for them to have the desired impact. And because the circumstances that confront us are extraordinary, the kind of change that is needed must also be extraordinary.
"To serve as a catalyst to advance this, Nigeria believes that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya be strengthened as a more robust United Nations Agency dedicated to advancing environmental and sustainable development issues," he concluded.