The Nigerian government has thrown its weight behind advocacy for the establishment of an African Energy Bank (AEB) to finance oil, gas, power and other energy related projects for the continent as a financial crisis looms in the energy sector.
Timipre Sylva, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, made this known on Thursday at the 2022 Annual Public Lecture of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Bwari Branch, in Abuja.
Speaking on the theme of the lecture: “Inclusive Energy Transition: Key Issues, Investment Opportunities and Barriers Towards Achieving the Decades of Gas Initiative in Nigeria”, the Minister said the energy bank would take Africans out of the doldrums of energy poverty in line with Sustainable Development Goal 7, which aimed to ensure access to affordable and clean energy.
He said the inclusive energy transition, the Decade of Gas Initiative, and the 2030 Agenda for energy sustainability had provided a roadmap for action.
He urged the NSE to be at the forefront of implementing the roadmap by applying scientific, technical knowledge and experience to turn innovative ideas into sustainable projects that would benefit everyone.
Sylva said, “Nigerian engineers need to take center stage and improve productivity in Nigeria. This implies that the NSE must evolve to become more inventive, inclusive, cooperative, and accountable.
“I believe that there is a need to address the gaps between current engineering capacity and output.
“This calls for greater collaboration between government, industry, educational and research institutes, civil society, and the engineering community.
“The collaboration will ensure that more engineers have the right skills to respond to the call for a more sustainable Nigerian Nation,” he said.
He further noted that as Nigeria moved on with the decade of gas initiative, it was also critical that engineering education fitted the current and future needs of companies, especially as technology evolved and new fields developed.
Sylva charged the government, schools, and professional engineering institutions to collaborate among themselves to ensure that engineering education provides the capacity needs of the gas sector. He also urged them to encourage more youth into considering engineering as a career option.
According to the minister, a new paradigm for engineering is urgently needed; one that goes beyond traditional discipline divisions and is inter- and multidisciplinary in approach.
He said this would allow engineering to address such highly complex issues such as energy poverty, energy transition, and climate change.
He added that it would make engineering a true enabler, equaliser, and accelerator in delivering on a just energy transition, the decade of gas initiatives’, and the SDGs.
He reiterated the ministry’s commitment to create an efficient regulatory environment with well-aligned and streamlined regulations to keep the natural gas industry flexible enough to encourage innovation across the country.