Ministers, others seek new approach to stimulating investments in energy

 Ministers, others seek new approach to stimulating investments in energyStakeholders in the and energy sector have raised concern about Nigeria’s energy outlook, insisting that unless the country addresses critical challenges that limit private sector investment, sustainable energy development may remain a mirage.

Nigeria faces a critical challenge in attracting investments that would have unlocked the enormous energy inadiquate electricity, gas and refined petroleum products cripple economic growth and push millions into poverty.

But heads of key energy ministries/agencies, lawmakers and other stakeholders, who converged on an international energy summit in Abuja, yesterday, believe that energy sufficiency and sustainable economic growth could be achieved in the sector if the private sector plays its role.

While the stakeholders stressed that urgent attention was needed to de-risk the sectors to encourage private sector-led investment, the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, noted that given Nigerian’s huge energy resources, leveraging science and technology could help in achieving sustainable energy.

“The most important thing is that Nigeria has enormous energy resources. And what we need to do is to use science, technology and innovation. So, we need to add knowledge. We need to add knowledge to add value to the resources we have. And with that we can solve the energy problem that we have in the country,” Onu said.

Onu said the country can only provide jobs for the teeming unemployed population if efforts are geared towards industry, adding that without adequate electricity, industrial development would remain a mirage.

Urging Nigeria as to remain optimistic about the power issue, he noted that some of the efforts being taken by the government were the basics needed to deliver sustainable energy.

He said it was necessary to attract local and foreign investors to harness the energy resources in the country, adding that the government was working hard on the best incentives that would attract investors.

Director-General, the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), which organised the summit in collaboration with International Energy Charter (IEC), Prof. Eli Bala, noted that de-risking the energy sector was important for attracting private sector-led investments, noting that the sectors must be competitive and deliver a return to investors.

According to him, government has developed incentives and support schemes to reduce the unit cost by kilowatt per hour of energy.

Bala noted that partnership with international and local bodies remains critical to the growth of the sectors, adding that cooperation on energy development would provide the needed investor confidence.

“It enhances confidence. Foreign investors will come in. That is the essence of partnership, especially international partnership.

The prospects are high and the situation, certainly, will improve because more funds will come,” Bala stated.

Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, noted that the government was doing everything possible to ensure sustainable energy through renewable energy.

He said the country was working hard to ensure that renewable energy accounts for about 30 per cent of the country’s energy supply.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Uche Ekwunife decried the short lifespan of most solar street lights in the country, urging the ECN to find a sustainable solution to the issue.

The Senator also asked the agency to look into the process of sourcing local raw material components in the sector, adding further that the agency must give priority to policy formulation that would address existing challenges in the country’s energy outlook.

Chairman, House Committee on Science and Technology, Beni Lar said while the country has been afflicted by the power crisis, global development has shown the need to focus on clean energy to mitigate climate change challenges.

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