EU allocates 700m euros to develop sustainable energy in Nigeria – ECOWAS

  • NUPENG wants NNPC to provide alternative loading depots for tankers to check Apapa recurring gridlock 

The European Union (EU) says  it has so far committed  over 700 million euros  for the development of  sustainable energy in Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries from 2014 to 2020.

The Head of Cooperation, EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Kurt Cornelis, said this in Abuja on Monday at a workshop on policy and regulation for clean energy mini-grids and renewable energy in ECOWAS region.

Cornelis said access to electricity and promotion of sustainable energy solutions were at the core of EU’s cooperation with the region, hence the provision of the grants to ECOWAS countries.

He said given the challenge in the electricity production, there was the urgent need to address the energy deficit, using the various energy mix in the region.

“We all know that the challenges are considerable; we also know that on-grid solutions alone cannot solve the problems and that the right mix of on grid and off-grid interventions has to be found.

Cornelis  also said that there was the need to ensure a strong political will through the  formulation and implementation of a solid regulatory and policy framework for the sector.

He said that a stable environment for trade and investment, improved capacities and necessary funding were required for the development of the sector.

He added that the EU, with partner countries and donor agencies, were committed to promoting renewable energy solutions to expand  access to electricity in the region.

“The EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility is a good example of a multi-donor initiative established with the aim to promote coherent, effective and efficient European energy development cooperation.“

According to him, another 360 million euros was   currently on the verge of being disbursed through a financial instrument called Africa Investment Facility (AFIF) to further improve energy and transportation in the ECOWAS.

He said there was the need for new partnerships to mobilise private resources and apply innovative financing models, noting that EU was also proposing an ambitions external investment plan.

This, he said, would require the full participation and partnership of the private sector.

“The EU is planning to mobilise considerable funding to support this trend and allow the private sector to invest in the area of renewable energies,“ he said.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that Nigerian government was focused on improving power supply in the country.

Fashola, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Louis Edozie, said that  the two subjects of  renewable energy and mini grids were very important to the government of Nigeria.

He said the development of renewable energy and mini grids were important elements in  improving electricity in Nigeria.

The minister said that the legal frame work for the takeoff of renewable energy and mini grid has been  established in the country.

He said that the framework was designed to bring together, government, private developers , financiers, to  improve power supply in the country.

Fashola also told participants that a regulatory frame work for the sector had also been established by the government.

Fashola advised the participants  to focus on measures to ensure the implementation of the contractual framework  to unleash the creative  energies in the renewable energies and mini grids .

He expressed hope that the workshop would   evolve  workable mechanisms  to  meet the contractual framework designed to develop  renewable energy and mini grids in the ECOWAS region

In the meantime, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) on Monday appealed to the NNPC to provide  alternative loading depots  for petroleum tankers to check the recurring gridlock in Apapa area of Lagos State.

Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, the South-West Chairman of the union, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

Korodo said that the recurring gridlock in Apapa was because 90 per cent of petroleum products were stored in various private tank farms in the area.

“This is why all the adjourning routes to Apapa always experience traffic jams.

“The tanker drivers are always on queue waiting for their time to load the petroleum products stored in various farm tanks in Apapa.

“They occupy a lane out of the two-lane route until it is their turn to load.

“At present, Tin-Can Island-link road is not passable to the depots; the Ijora-Wharf Road is in deplorable conditions due to several pot-holes there.

“The tanker drivers have been on queue for days, obstructing free flow of traffic.

“It is dangerous to have trailers stationary on those bridges for days, it could weaken the bridges.

“The tanker drivers should not be held responsible for parking their trucks on the route leading to the depots.

“This is because there are no alternative routes to the depots for now,” the chairman said.

He said that if government fails to provide alternative routes to the depots; the gridlocks would become hectic on the existing route when repair work begins on the Apapa-Tin Can Road.

The union, therefore, appealed to the NNPC to open the depots in other parts of the South-West zone for loading to reduce the tankers coming to Apapa.

“The corporation should begin to use its System 2B Pipeline Network, to pump petroleum products from Atlas Cove Depot to other depots in the southwestern part of the country.

“Now that the depots are in good shape, there is no reason why the corporation should still be using private depots in Apapa to distribute petroleum products,” he said.

According to him, only Mosinmi Depot is into skeletal loading while Ejigbo depot in Lagos State; Ibadan depot in Oyo State, Ore depot in Ondo State and Ilorin depot in Kwara are not working.

Korodo pleaded with the Federal Government to intervene in the matter.