Clarify Plans For Gas, Energy Transition Within 90 Days, CSOs Urge Incoming Nigerian Govt
By Gift Eguavoen
A coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under the aegis of CSOs Gas Expert Group, has called on the incoming President, Bola Tinubu, to within 90 days of taking office, disclose his government’s action plans for Nigeria’s gas sector and clarify strategies to resolve risks undermining Nigeria’s economy and energy transition.
The call was made in a statement released in Abuja on Friday and signed by 19 CSOs who held President-elect Bola Tinubu, to his campaign promises of accelerated implementation of the Nigeria Gas Master Plan and fully developed and modernized regulatory framework for natural gas production.
“His campaign manifesto promised a 20percent increase in gas production, completion of certain “critical” gas infrastructure projects by 2027, a boost in Nigerian gas exports to the EU, and a “Nigeria First policy” by which “gas resources shall be directed, as a #1 priority to Nigerian power generation,” the group stated.
Following his energy mission statement, the coalition called on the incoming government to take the necessary steps to publish a comprehensive Decade of Gas Policy with clear roles for state, non-state actors and investors with periodic progress updates.
They also urged the incoming government to fast track implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and improve enforcement of regulations to hold all projects to higher operational standards, especially with regards to decommissioning and community relations.
The coalition also tasked the incoming government to clarify the role of subnational governments and agencies in the implementation of national gas and energy transition policies as well as provide detailed outline of the investment mobilization for critical infrastructure needed across the value chain.
They also highlighted the need to properly assess the risks involved with gas expansion, calling for a detailed plan to end gas flaring and minimize negative impact on communities, while working towards a post-oil and gas future.
According to the group, although looking more to gas for foreign exchange or domestic energy could address short term energy and development needs, it pointed out that “betting big on gas in the long term carries huge risks, specifically, given Nigeria’s limited past success in turning gas into energy at home and the limited progress reported in the three years of the implementation of the government’s Decade of Gas policy.”
They further expressed fears that given the large scale of prior uncompleted projects amid limited international sources of finance for Nigerian gas projects, the incoming government could be forced into borrowing billions of dollars to fund new gas infrastructure, a situation they warned could consume scarce revenues and foreign exchange as well as worsen the rapidly ballooning public debt.
Members of the coalition include Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI); African Initiative for Transparency, Accountability and Responsible Leadership (AFRITAL); Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN); Policy Alert; Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI); Media Initiative for Transparency in Extractive Industries (MITEI); Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID); Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC-Nigeria); Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA); Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC); Spaces for Change (S4C); BudgIT Foundation, among others.