By Juliet Ukanwosu
Stakeholders at a recently convened National Dialogue on Energy Transition, has tasked the Nigerian government to translate the country’s energy transition plan into implementable action plan and align it with national developmental frameworks such as the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).
This charge was given in a communique released at the end of the Dialogue which was organized in Abuja by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), in partnership with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and BudgIT Foundation.
Stakeholders emphasized the need to operationalise the PIA as it includes provisions that facilitate the use of gas as a transition fuel and decarbonisation, while urging the federal government to be explicit on the delivery mechanism of the energy transition and how the green economy will translate to job creation for Nigerians.
Participants who agreed that transitioning away from the current fossil-intensive energy system is necessary for Nigeria, however, noted that the process requires an approach that speaks to the country’s specific context and local priorities. To this end, they underscored the need to mainstream transparency, accountability, and stakeholder engagement into the energy transition agenda with a strong monitoring and evaluation framework.
“The energy transition plan must be driven by a roadmap to define the modalities for funding and identify the risks and opportunities of the transition process. Citizens’ ownership and awareness of the energy transition process are key. Public education strategy should be in place to enable citizens to make informed decisions.
“Greater attention should be paid to the solid mineral sector as it holds potential for the Nigeria energy transition plan because of the availability of strategic energy minerals such as lithium, cobalt, etc. A framework to resolve the legacy conflict issues around solid minerals, particularly in the North East should be adopted to ensure that the ramp-up of the energy transition does not create further social upheaval. The energy transition should avoid replicating the errors from the fossil fuel industry, host communities and environmental concerns must be taken seriously and incorporated into the energy transition plan and implementation,” the communique stated in part.
According to the communique, a just transition should ensure the remediation of the degraded environment by divesting companies, while calling for an overhaul of Nigeria’s security architecture to create an enabling business environment and secure robust investment in the gas and other critical sectors.
The need for policy consistency to attract investment from key actors in the energy sector was also highlighted, while underscoring the need for financial instruments negotiated to fund the transition plan to align with Nigeria’s development goals and benefit of future generations.
Most critically, the stakeholders made up of state and non-state actors, asked the federal government to provide an extensive strategy on how the nation’s economy will be managed during the transition process in light of the projected diminished fossil fuel revenues as trade partners transition and companies divest. This is in view of the country’s dependence on fossil fuel for 90 percent of its foreign exchange earnings and around 50 percent of government revenues.
The communique was jointly signed by NEITI, NRGI, BudgIT Foundation, African Climate Foundation, Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Mining Cadastral Office, Energy Commission of Nigeria, Rural Electrification Agency, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Seplat Energy, AITEO and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company.
Others include Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Women in Extractives, Clean Technology Hub, Centre for Transparency Advocacy, Energy for All Project, Extractive360, Open Government Partnership, Media Initiative for Transparency in Extractives Industries, Spaces for Change, We The People, Policy Alert, Environmental Rights Action, Dataphyte, Social Action and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers.