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President Tinubu Says Green Industrial Vision Complementary  to Investments in Oil & Gas ;


When it comes to the ongoing global conversation around mitigating the adverse effects of climate change through robust investments in renewable energy sources – with an eye towards the reduction (and eventually the total elimination) of carbon emissions into the Earth’s atmosphere, one key question that engages the minds of leaders and policymakers in developing countries is: How do we achieve sustainable development that delivers higher living standards for our people – WITHOUT exacerbating the effects of climate change? This question is especially pertinent given the fact that these countries have historically contributed little or nothing to the problem (as has the industrialized, developed West) and therefore feel – rightly so – that they should NOT be made to carry the same responsibility for its mitigation as the developed West. 

It is against this backdrop that countries like Nigeria speak of a ‘balanced’ approach to energy transition – that is, one which still requires substantial investments in the oil and gas sector to meet the energy demands and economic needs of its population. Like other nations of the Global South, Nigeria sees no contradiction whatsoever between her quest to develop her oil and gas resources to their maximum potential in a bid to power her developmental goals AND her recognition that the golden age of fossil fuels is all but over. Nigeria has always restated her readiness to play her part in achieving the global goal of Net-Zero Emission in the nearest possible future, while safeguarding her strategic national interests. 

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu made this very point at a recent meeting in Abuja with the Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered Bank, Mr. Bill Winters, who led a team from that organization on a visit to the President. The delegation included Mr. Foluso Phillips, Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria, and Mr. Dalu Ajene, CEO of the Nigeria branch of the Bank. 

During the meeting, Tinubu reiterated the Global South’s call for a ‘just energy transition.’ Nigeria, he said, holds a particularly sensitive place in the climage-change and energy-transition conversation because of her vast gas reserves (the largest in Africa), which are still in high global demand, along with her commitment to use her resources in a prudent and environmentally responsible manner. ”We will surely catch up with (the global net-zero requirements),” he assured the visiting team. But Nigeria, he added, was also running a developmental marathon on a track full of hurdles. “To run a marathon, you need lots of energy … (For now) We do not want to back away from fossil fuels.”

For any energy transition, no matter how well formulated to succeed, Tinubu added, people must  live well, and governments at all levels must meet their obligations to its citizenry.

To that end, and in the same manner he has courted robust investments by key economic players across the globe in the one year since his assumption of office, Tinubu urged the Standard Chartered team to get on the bandwagon as far as partnering with relevant stakeholders in critical sectors of the nation’s economy is concerned – as the ROI potential of these investments is indeed huge. 

Describing Standard Chartered Bank as a valued partner in Nigeria’s developmental journey, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mr. Wale Edun, who was also  at the meeting, noted that the Bank has over the years provided financing for infrastructure, as well as offered advice on ratings and the prudent management of the country’s Eurobond. The Bank, he disclosed, has also indicated interest in financing key infrastructure projects in Nigeria such as the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway, the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line, and the provision of $3 billion in innovative financing for the NLNG (ie the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas) Dividend Initiative.

In his remarks, Mr. Winters praised the President’s bold economic reforms, which, he said, have engendered much enthusiasm and support among the international investment community.  ”We see ourselves as ambassadors to Nigeria in the international investment community,” he said, “and we take our advisory role very seriously. We will continue to offer objective advice to the country because we have commitments in the country backed by our strong belief in what this administration is doing.” 

That said, however, and having established that there has to be a balance between economic development and the mitigation of the adverse effects of climate change (which in Nigeria are beginning to manifest themselves in unseasonal and torrential rainfall, accompanied by flash flooding; accelerated deforestation, erosion and pollution, etc), experts say there are 4 key ways in which an emerging economy such as Nigeria can have the best of both worlds – ie achieve a balanced energy transition regime AND sustainable development. 

One, the FG and its development partners have  to make renewable energy technology available to all, not just to the wealthy. Nigeria is blessed with renewable energy sources such as sunshine, wind and hydro power. Essential technologies such as battery storage systems will allow energy from renewables to be stored and released when people, communities and businesses need power. 

Two, government must improve access to affordable components and raw materials, as well as robust supply of renewable energy components and raw materials in the market. More widespread access to all the key components and materials – from the minerals needed to produce wind turbines and electricity networks, to electric vehicles – will be key. Greater investment is needed to ensure a just transition. This includes skills training, research and innovation, and incentives to build supply chains through sustainable practices that protect our ecosystem and cultures.

Three, the playing field for renewable energy technologies has be leveled. Domestic policy and regulatory frameworks must be reformed to streamline and fast-track renewable energy projects and encourage private sector investment. Nigeria has the capacity and funds for renewable energy transition, but there need to be policies and processes in place to reduce market risk and enable investments – including through streamlining the planning, permitting and regulatory processes, and eliminate bottlenecks. 

Four, government can shift subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Having already ended the fuel subsidy regime last year, the Tinubu administration might want to consider transferring some of those saved funds to subsidizing renewables. Doing so will not only cut carbon emissions, it will also contribute to sustainable economic growth, job creation, and better public health, particularly in vulnerable communities.

The UN says that at least 4 trillion dollars a year needs to be invested in renewable energy until 2030 in order for the world to be able reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Though Nigeria does not subscribe to the 2050 target (for now, the target of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, ETP, as announced by former President Muhammadu Buhari is 2060) she must begin NOW to come up not just with the cash, but also the commitment and political will to begin the process of meeting our obligations in that regard. Nigeria must also aggressively court the support of international financial institutions, multilateral development banks and other public and private agencies. 

Due to dwindling demand in the international market for fossil fuels, Nigeria has already seen a sharp decline in the price of its mainstay, crude oil. For this reason, the transition to renewable energy sources (even as we continue to exploit our gas resources in particular) has become an urgent imperative. Derived from natural resources that are abundant and continuously replenished,  renewable energy is key to our quest for a dynamic economy that expands the circle of opportunity for many of our people – especially our unemployed youths.

That is the thrust of the ETP’s mandate. The body was unveiled in  2016, shortly after experts highlighted the effort required to achieve Nigeria’s 2060 net zero target whilst also meeting the nation’s energy needs. With the work of the ETP, the Tinubu administration has a unique opportunity to merge our country’s two priorities – economic development AND climate action, and to achieve a truly just and balanced energy transition. 


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