• Thursday, July 25, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Reps urge FG to make Nigeria renewable energy, technology hubs

Reps urge FG to make Nigeria renewable energy, technology hubs

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government through the Energy Commission of Nigeria to leverage on available resources to reposition the nation as a hub for renewable energy.

The House through its committee on science, technology and innovation, also asked the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) to make the country a technology hub.

Beni Lar (PDP, Plateau) the chairman of the committee, made the call when she led members on oversight visits to the two agencies, at the weekend.

Lar stated that the oversight of both agencies was to ascertain their compliance and implementation level and contribution to national development.

She emphasised that the energy commission was the sole government body charged with the responsibility to drive the United Nations climate change agenda and sustainable development goals in energy sources and usage.

“With over four decades of operational existence, this energy think-tank has the strategic role of preparing and guiding the nation into the post-crude oil era that now stirs us in the face.

“The advancements in science and technology are leaning towards renewable and more climate-friendly energy sources, and these should alarm leaders in the Nigerian project, particularly the ECN as the future of fossil fuel looks very bleak,” the lawmaker said.

The chairman disclosed that the committee had resolved to give legislative support to the commission with a view to birthing reliable and futuristic sources of foreign exchange-earners.

Read also: Energy Transition: Africa as Driver, international community the GPS

In his presentation, Jidare Bala, the director-general of the commission told lawmakers that the 2022 appropriation (budget) for the agency was N12.5 billion and 79.55 percent of the sum has been released so far.

Bala said, the major sources of revenue for the agency are tender fees, freedom of information, withholding tax, value-added tax (VAT), stamp duty and grants.

He disclosed that there had not been any intervention funds from the government since 2009 and the commission is indebted to the tune of N4.7 billion for constituency projects.

The director-general, however, said the commission had written to the ministry of finance that the Debt Management Office (DMO) should take over the debt.

“I will like to recall some of the challenges that we have. I have told you about our debt, heavy debt of about 4.7 billion naira owed contractors for constituency projects executed from 2009 to date 2012 but since 2013 we have not incurred any debt.

“The second is inadequate physical infrastructure at the headquarters, you can see this building is small and we have about 731 staff and if we have our way, we have already had our design where our car park is, we want to have a 12-storey building to be called Nigeria Energy House,” Bala added.

At NOTAP, Lar reiterated that the agency tracks the inflow of technology into the country and develops appropriate strategies for its adoption and domestication.

She said, “NOTAP occupies a critical place in the scientific advancement of Nigeria and its continued development. At this point, I wish to state that the current DG has repositioned the office towards the realisation of its lofty objectives.”

Earlier, Danazumi Ibrahim, the director-general of NOTAP said N624 billion was projected as revenue with N406 billion generated; N377 million was budgeted and N263 million has so far been released for the 2022 appropriation.

He informed the committee of some challenges of the agency, ranging from over N1.7 million spent on diesel for generators, a shortage of staff as a result of the suspension and appealed for funds to employ more staff.

Members of the committee observed that the equipment used by the agency for most of its research were obsolete as they demanded the full detail of all expenditure.