• Thursday, June 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Why Nigeria must prioritise investment in energy – Adesina

AfDB aims to boost infrastructure funding as African growth accelerates

Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank (AfDB), says Nigeria must prioritise investment in the energy sector particularly power and renewable energy in order to unlock the opportunities in the economy, drive industrialisation and accelerate national development.

Adesina speaking on Monday in Abuja at the 2023 Nigeria Employers Summit, stated that investment in energy would not only further diversify the economy and reduce dependence on oil, but also make Nigerian industries and businesses more competitive as well as accelerate the country’s integration in regional and global supply chains.

Represented by Lamin Barrow, the director-general of AFDB, at the summit themed “Trade and non-oil export: Changing the narrative for rapid national development organised by Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Adesina said investment in renewable energy and power sector presented the best alternative to oil.

“I can’t overemphasise the urgency to prioritize the energy sector investments to unlock the opportunities in the economy. Nigeria must decisively fix its power sector once and for all”, he said.

According to him, some African countries- including Egypt and Morocco have experienced a rapid turnaround because they invested massively in the energy sector. He said these countries rolled out a solar programme that saw massive increase in energy generation capacity to drive industrialisation and a competitive economy by tapping abundant gas resources under public-private partnership.

Read also: Nigeria’s crude oil, condensate hit 1.47 million bpd in June – NUPRC

The AfDB president further urged the Nigerian government to invest in renewable energy generation, especially solar, leveraging the platform of the desert power initiative aimed at providing electricity for 250 million people across the Sahel which includes northern parts of Nigeria.

He said Nigeria’s poor revenue has been further aggravated by low trade volumes particularly for manufactured exports, as well as underdeveloped agricultural value chains. He added that while Nigeria’s export of goods and services as a percentage of GDP is 10.7 percent, the lowest among its peers in Africa, the manufacturing export represents only three percent of total revenues.

He, therefore, recommended some key policy priorities for Nigeria to accelerate national development. He recommended improved tax collection, administration and blocking of leakages, boosting of agricultural productivity and value chain in partnership with the private sector, as agricultural contribution to GDP remains poor.

He also urged the country to develop supporting infrastructure. While quoting the World Bank, he noted that it will take Nigeria 300 years to meet $3trillion infrastructure deficit, but said the country can change the narrative by effectively mobilising the private sector

Taiwo Adeniyi, NECA president and council chairman, NECA, informed that the body and its partners aim to expand the employment net in Nigeria by deepening economic activities in non-oil export to create job opportunities.

According to him, the summit offers a unique opportunity for NECA to expand the employment net and reduce the migration of Nigerian youths seeking greener pastures in other countries.

“We expect this summit will engender new investment and opportunities to change the narratives, and the figures of unemployed persons will reduce. So, at the end of the summit, we will submit a document containing our recommendations to the government and then follow up with various ministries and agencies charged with promoting non-oil export”, he said.