IN a sense, and as in the case of petrol, countries that do not have as much sunshine as Africa are already ‘selling sunshine’ to Nigeria through photovoltaic solar panels and other renewable energy equipment.
In February 2018, the Nigeria Customs Service arbitrarily imposed a five per cent duty and five per cent VAT on solar panels coming into Nigeria, triggering protests from the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, REAN, a private sector renewable energy interest group.
Already, batteries needed for storage of solar energy are suffering a 20 per cent duty. Yet, solar panels are supposed to be exempted from duties, according to Nigeria’s Harmonised Systems Codes classification. These duties hiked the cost of solar equipment, resulting in the closure of many solar firms.
There was general outrage among Nigerians on February 16, 2021 when the Minister of Power, Mamman Saleh, disclosed, while receiving members of the Hausa Guild of Actors and Film Producers, Kannywood, that Nigeria has been spending N50 billion monthly as subsidy for electricity supply.
Nigeria is obviously still paying dearly for the miscarried involvement of the private sector in our power supply. If this amount was dedicated to our renewable energy efforts our power supply woes would change for the better in ten years.
Considering the monumental problems bedeviling electricity supply in Nigeria – non-availability of gas, operation and maintenance difficulties, corruption, underfunding and others – it is obvious that one of the solution to the country’s power problems lies in the massive investment in renewable energy.
With sincerity of purpose, the right legislations, policies and the correct deployment of Nigeria’s tech savvy youths, green energy can light up the country once and for all and solve the perennial power crisis. It will reduce our carbon overload and eliminate the air and noise pollution arising from millions of power-generating sets used everyday in the country.
As Chief Olu Falae, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, once advised in an interview published in Vanguard Newspaper of January 13, 2020, which underscored the prime place power generation occupies in the economy and every aspect of the life of a nation. “President Buhari should give priority to power generation, because if you don’t solve the power problem, nothing else is going to work well. We need power for everything,” he said.
A country without reliable and steady power supply in this age of Information Communication Technology, is doomed. Nigerians, who are part of the modern world, practically live their lives and earn their living on the internet through smart electronic devices. How will they cope if they cannot access adequate electricity to power those gadgets?
Renewable energy is the solution as well as the future.