UNIDO Calls for Consistency in Nigeria’s Energy Policy

The United Nation Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) said Nigeria requires a great deal of consistency in her national policy on energy to swiftly move up to the platform of top 20 industrialised economies, which she aspires to attain in 2020.

According to the Director-General of UNIDO, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, who spoke to journalists at the launch of the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) in Abuja, a considerable expansion of access to modern, affordable and sustainable energy services as well as a substantial improvement in the quality and quantity of Nigeria’s energy infrastructure was required for the country to fulfill her vision to become one of the top 20 economies in the world by 2020.

Yumkella noted that national and regional target setting was a critical means to prioritise and embed sustainable energy policy into government policy making, acknowledging that certain national policy of the country on energy already outlines such goals and priorities, with a view to creating energy security and a robust energy supply mix.

He said: “In 25 years, your population will be 300 million. You need real jobs, not disguised unemployment and you need reliable, cheap affordable energy without it nobody will invest in manufacturing.

“Your energy strategy, we are very impressed given the numbers I have seen, your government wants to do this and you will reach these goals ahead of the rest of the world. You have everything Brazil has; oil, gas, water, agribusiness to do bio energy, hydropower and so you have a distributed energy system plus your gas to make energy cheap here but you need some level of consistency in your energy policy.”

“However, the scale of policy challenges in energy infrastructure renders the current efforts insufficient in scale and scope. What is now required is a sustained political focus. Energy access must move up the political and development agendas to become a central priority. This raises a fundamental question: What is to be done to establish an energy system that will deliver reliable, affordable and sustainable energy for all and support sustainable development in Nigeria?

The answer is policy consistency; the biggest hurdle is policy consistency because no one government can achieve these goals by itself it will take a generation of 20, 30 years, that is the evidence on energy everywhere.

He added: “These are not visions of one government; these are the vision of the Nigerian people. It is what happened in Ghana which has had changes in government but today they have about almost 70 per cent electrification because in spite of a change of government from Jerry Rawlings to Attah-Mills, every government pushed electrification and parliament backed them,” Accordingly, a 2011 report by the International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED) estimates that about $200 billion will be required to improve Nigeria’s infrastructure for power, transport and water.

The ICEED report further states that about $32 billion will be required to meet the cost of power generation from hydro-power and gas alone in the next ten years; Yumkella noted that this is significant, but feasible, if the appropriate incentives framework is established to turn the attention of the private sector to clean energy investments.

By Chineme Okafor, This Day.