WE vehemently disagree with the House of Representatives’ call on the Federal Government to foot-drag on the acceptance and production of electric cars in Nigeria. Rather, all stops should be pulled to align our country with the new worldwide trend of transiting from oil-powered vehicles and machinery to electric ones.
The House, while deliberating on a motion: “Economic Implications of the Production and Adoption of Electric Vehicles in Nigeria”, sponsored by Ossy Prestige on Tuesday last week, had noted that adopting the electric car technology would work against Nigeria’s crude oil-dependent economy.
The truth that stares us in the face is that the days of dependency on crude oil sales as the sole or even main pillar of any economy are over. The earlier our political leaders realise this the better for all of us.
The House correctly noted that India, China, France, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom which “bought a total of 24.4 million barrels of crude oil from Nigeria in May 2019, almost half of the nation’s total exports for the month, are now pushing ahead with plans to stop the use of oil-powered vehicles as part of efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions”.
Besides, the Russia-Saudi Arabia oil price war which has taken down oil price from above $50 per barrel a few weeks ago to an 18-year low of below $24, helped strand our oil cargoes with few ready to buy. That is another frightening warning.
Russia and Saudi Arabia, along with many traditional oil exporters, had since prepared for the doomsday now looming on the horizon with their huge Sovereign Wealth Funds and large-scale privatisation of their erstwhile state-owned oil monopolies.
Meanwhile, Nigeria remains rooted in illusion and continues to spend scarce funds searching for oil deposits, especially in the North. We have only paid lip service to the need to diversify the economy while at the same time proved unable to save from our oil proceeds to power the diversification effort.
The age of electric vehicles and machinery is here. The fact that it is cheaper and more convenient to run these vehicles, including the cleaner energy it promotes, makes it an irresistible better alternative. The world is serious about saving Mother Earth from the deadly effects of Green House gases. Rather than hold on desperately to oil-powered auto technology we must move with the rest of the world.
We reiterate our firm belief that effective diversification cannot succeed under our current centralised economic model of monthly sharing of oil revenue by the three tiers of government.
We must deeply and radically restructure and devolve powers to federating units to reignite our productive capacity as we had it before.
We must swim with the tide, not against it.