By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Federal government has called on the private sector to invest in the manufacturing of solar panels in a bid to diversify electricity generation and mitigate climate change in Nigeria.
The minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, who stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the inauguration of Inter-ministerial Committee on the Utilization of Renewable Energy, said private sector investment would also bring the prices of solar panels which would enable many Nigerians to afford it.
The minister who underscored the need for Nigeria to explore other areas of electricity generation pointed out that there was no way that Nigeria could achieve industrialisation without adequate power supply.
To this end, he said his ministry in collaboration with the Federal Ministries of Environment, Water Resources, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Works and Housing, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board would embark on robust research in finding lasting solutions to perennial power challenge confronting the nation.
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He assured that no efforts would be spared in providing enabling environment for robust research and development in the energy technologies.
According to him, “We are happy to make our own contributions in solving the energy problems that have confronted our nation for a very long time.
“Power generation, transmission and distribution have been critical to the attainment of rapid industrialisation for Nigeria and overall economic development of the country.
“We know that we have tremendous deposits in the areas of electricity generation and we need to have a viable electricity mix that can help us to close this gap, so that we will be a position to have enough electricity to power industries, light our homes, schools and ensure that economic activities can progress.”
He said the closeness of Nigeria to the Equator gives the country an added advantage, adding that all hands must be on deck in solving lingering but very critical challenge confronting Nigeria in the power sector.
While giving the terms of reference, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr Bitrus Bako, said the committee was expected to “domesticate and produce requisite skills for electricity generation from multiple sources, electricity distribution and marketing using blockchain technology with attendant job creation and proliferation of SMEs in the power sector based on research, development outputs from the research institutes.
The committee was also saddled with the responsibility, “To create an environment for value addition in various local raw materials used to generate electricity for accelerated socio-economic development, job creation and wealth generation and also create an environment for achieving 20,000 to 50,000mega watts of electricity for rapid industrialisation in Nigeria within the next four years, based on the Federal Government’s intervention strategy and support for locally grown SMEs.
In his acceptance speech, the Chairman of the Committee, Dr Peter Ekweozoh, assured that the Committee would work assiduously to deliver on its mandate based on international best practices.
Ekweozoh, who is also a Director, Department of Environmental Sciences and Technology, assured that the committee’s report would attract attention anywhere in the world.