Fashola, Kupolokun, others fault transition to fossil fuels
Stakeholders in the energy sector, have in Abuja, said the country’s efforts to transit to a new era of energy landscape may remain elusive because of lack of value addition in the industry.
The players, who gathered at the 11th international conference of Nigerian Association for Energy Economics (NAEE), insisted that Nigeria must prioritise the energy mix by addressing the prevailing challenges across value chain of the sector, to achieve the projected economic development.
While there were urgent actions across the world to address over dependence on fossil fuels, the experts stated that the unwillingness of the Federal Government to fully deregulate the downstream and mid-stream petroleum sectors would continue to impact the country negatively.
Speaking at the event, Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stated that meeting the nation’s electricity demand require commitment by government to address challenges in the energy industry, particularly gas.
“The technicality of the industry is straightforward. While new technologies are emerging the price of renewable is dropping, so technology is not the problem.
The reason our electrical industry is not delivering is basically about energy issues,” Fashola, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Louis Edozien, said.
According to him, addressing the issues across the energy value chain determines how quickly the country will deliver electricity promises.
Former Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Funsho Kupolokun, who said Nigeria has paid lip service to downstream deregulation for the past 25 years, insisted that unbundling the sector was very important for the country’s economy to grow.
“We have been talking about the deregulation of the downstream sector over 25 years and we are yet to deregulate,” he said.
Kupolokun, who chaired the conference, which would basically assess “New Era in Global Energy Landscape: Implications for Emerging Economy,” said the roles of transparency and accountability remained crucial if Nigeria must transit into a more sustainable energy sources.
According to him, Nigeria must develop human and technology capacity to move from where we are now as well as strengthen the roles of government and institution.
President of the association, Prof. Wumi Iledare, said Nigeria’s over dependence on hydrocarbon for revenue generation instead of value creation remained worrisome.
“This is a major hindrance to the nation’s economic growth and sustainable development potential,” the professor of energy economics said.
He was hopeful that the progress made through the passage of Petroleum Industry Governance Bill has ushered in a glimmer of optimism, adding that the speedily passage of the industry bills into law would reverse the bleak future of the sector.
The Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Dr. Aliyu Gasua, also stressed on the need for value adding in the sector, noting that the industry has not prioritised the need.