Osinbajo, Sylva, others raise fresh concerns over subsidy, energy transition
The Federal Government, yesterday, said the country has no option to full deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector, insisting the masses will soon pay for the actual cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol.
Although provision for full deregulation is contained in the recently passed Petroleum Industry Act, Nigeria has repeatedly made pronouncements on halting subsidies for petrol. It made such a move last year but backpedalled.
Speaking in Abuja at the second edition of the Seplat Energy Summit 2021, themed: ‘Global Trends in Energy Transition and the African Perspective’, industry players, including top government personnel, expressed worry about the continuous payment of subsidies and the nation’s energy outlook in the face of growing push for sustainable energy.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo insisted the national energy system would be affected by changes in climate and energy policy, financing, continuous technological advancement, and shifts in energy supply and demand.
Represented by Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, the Vice President explained that the energy compact included the provision of five million solar power projects aimed at electrifying five million homes and the creation of 250,000 jobs by 2023.
Osinbajo said: “Transformation of the energy sector offers ample opportunities for sustained economic development, social inclusion, energy security, improved health, job creation, and other societal benefits if achieved in a just and inclusive manner. However, this would require careful management and broad engagement to balance delicate and diverse interests.
“This brings to the fore the vulnerability of workers, communities, government sectors, and enterprises. It also underscores the necessity for comprehensive and coherent policies and measures to address the multifaceted challenges involved and pursue environmentally sustainable growth, while at the same time ensuring a just transition for those affected.”
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, noted that Nigeria’s oil production is expected to increase to four million barrels per day (bpd) and oil reserve to 40bbls with the implementation of the newly signed Petroleum Industry Act.
He said the new law would enhance the nation’s petroleum industry’s reputation, provide the pathway to new investments and consolidate Nigeria’s ability to play a significant role in meeting the world’s growing demand for energy.
The minister argued that the clamour to emphasise renewable energy as the sole pathway to energy transition is a source of concern for African countries still working to achieve baseload industrialisation, address energy poverty and ensure a reliable power supply. He said multiple pathways must exist to ensure no country is left behind in the process of achieving net-zero by 2050.
“These resources will be crucial in supplying world markets with a broad portfolio of energy options, as well as supporting the global endeavour to alleviate energy poverty as envisioned in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7,” he said.
Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote, said the world is facing an energy crisis especially in Europe, which is the largest consumer of fossil fuel in terms of energy.
“What we should talk about is energy remix. When you look at the years in which we transited from coal to oil, it is about 160. Today, Nigeria is very rich in gas. If we want to transit successfully as a country, then we must transit from fuel to gas,” he said.
Chairman, Seplat Energy Plc, A.B.C. Orjiako, said the organisation is poised to deliver sustainable energy solutions to society, noting: “There is a global consensus on climate change regarding what has to be done, and that consensus is that something must be done by everyone.
“Africa has the largest population of people in darkness. Therefore, it will be a paradox if we focus on just reducing carbon emission and jettison all of the operations that we have.”