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Don To FG: Find local alternative to $1.9trn energy transition target

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Nigeria needed to crowd in about $10 billion per annum until the said date

 

The pioneer Director, Institute of Nigeria- China Development Studies, University of Lagos (INCDS-UNILAG), Prof Olufemi Saibu, at the weekend, urged the Federal Government to develop local alternatives that will cut down on the $1.9 trillion target for its energy transition target.

Energy transition, described as Net Zero, means cutting greenhouse gas emissions close to zero, with any remaining emissions re-absorbed from the atmosphere, by oceans and forests, for instance. Saibu, who is a professor of Development Economics in the Department of Economics of the University of Lagos, said emphasis should not be on the money, which, he noted, could scare investors, but that adoption of local technologies that could be cheaper and also stimulate the local economy, create jobs and ensure sustainability.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, during the launch of Nigeria’s energy plan, had said Nigeria needed to spend $1.9 trillion to achieve its Net Zero target by 2060. She explained that the spending included $410 billion above business as usual and gave details of the additional financial requirement as $150 billion net expenses in improving generation capacity, $135 billion on building transmission and distribution infrastructure, $79 billion on developing clean, cooking solutions, $21 billion on de-carbonising  industry and $12 billion on transport and another $12 billion on oil and gas decarbonisation. She added that Nigeria needed to crowd in about $10 billion per annum until 2060 to deliver the additional funding required for implementing Nigeria’s energy transition plan.

Ahmed said: “The Energy Transition plan that we are launching today is bold, ambitious and has the potential to generate monumental impact across the nation.

However, it is important to highlight that this additional plan requires significant financial support. According to the plan, delivery of Nigeria’s net zero targets requires spending $1.9 trillion up to 2060, including $410 billion above business as usual.

“This additional financial requirement breaks down to $150 billion net expenses in improving generation capacity, $135 billion on building transmission and distribution infrastructure, $79 billion on developing clean, cooking solutions, $21 billion on de-carbonising industry and $12 billion on transport and another $12 billion on oil and gas decarbonisation.

“We will need to crowd in about $10 billion per annum till 2060 to deliver the additional funding required for implementing Nigeria’s energy transition plan.” But Saibu, in an interview with New Telegraph, cautioned against the emphasis on stupendous monetary requirements.

He said: “In Nigeria, we do not have a strong, credible database. So most of the projection is just based on information we have by projection. We do not need to tell people about these figures. “We can also go in bits because times when they mention some of these figures, it is just to show how incapacitated we are.

So, rather than that, we can say between such a number of years, we are meeting these needs. We can reduce to the first year, second year and third year and we work on using our capacity first. “What do we need in the need in the next two years, next three years rather than just giving figures that will scare people? We need to look at how we can at least develop alternatives locally that will not cost us that so much.

“As a country, whether developed or developing, we want to reduce at least the current carbon emission that is facing serious damage to our climate and our environment.

So, the climate change issue is becoming a serious matter globally. In terms of Nigeria, we need to discuss transition in terms of our capacity and our reality. “For now, if you are moving from lower energy to a higher one, for instance, you want to move from fossil, firewood, charcoal, to gas and others, the main question is: what is the income capacity of people to be able to finance such as well.

“If you talk about electricity and you want to complement it with renewable energy such as the sun and others, the question is: do we have  the capacity in technology to sustain and maintain that or do we continue to import with the attendant challenges?

“The issue of transition of energy is something that has to deal with our level of economic capacities, the level of income of the people as well. “Unless we address the issue of poverty, unemployment, and also over-dependence on foreign imports for our local needs, our ability to transit effectively will not actually be actualised. “This is because most countries of the world that tried to transit, transited based on what they have and what they can produce within the country and they know that they can sustain it locally.

So Nigeria has not developed any energy policy that utilised our local resources, and capacity.” He added: “So, the starting point is to lay a very good foundation. What are those transitions? Is there anything we can do locally, and ensure to empower people so that they can have the purchasing power to be able to use higher energy sources?

Secondly, do we have the local resources to produce and maintain those new technologies as well? So if we do not do that, we do not need to turn Nigeria to just another dumping ground for foreign technologies, no matter how beautiful they are in society.

 

We must consider what we can sustain. “I will advocate that we look at energy transition as a longterm project and not a shortterm project and build the base for us to do that and address our short-term challenges which is electricity supply that is adequate and availabl

 

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