- FG to Explore Alternative Energy Sources
The Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Ogbonnya Onu, has said the Federal Government is vigorously exploring alternative sources of energy for the country.
Onu said this when the executive of the International Energy Charter Mission Team on Energy Investment Risk Assessment paid him a courtesy call, according to a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by the Assistant Chief Information Officer, Ministry of Science and Technology, Edet Etuk.
Onu stated that his ministry was championing the study and research innovation into wind energy, biomass, solar and hydro that would enable the country to utilise the resources that would not be exhausted over time.
Nigeria, he added, needed to broaden the base of her energy resources, noting that renewable energy was one area that the country had tremendous advantage, whether in hydro, wind, solar, geothermal or biomass.
According the minister, the Federal Government will create the enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the very vital area, adding that both legislative and regulatory frameworks would be provided by the government.
Onu said the exploration of renewable energy had the potential not only to create jobs, but also to generate more wealth as well as to reduce poverty in the rural areas.
He noted that crude oil might not meet the country’s energy needs in the future and stressed the urgent need to look at alternative sources of energy.
The Investment Coordinator, International Energy Charter, Mr. Ishita Plant, said the aim of its Investment Risk Assessment was to help countries do what was right, create synergy and bring out those things that would benefit the people.
The Expansion Co-coordinator for Africa, IEC, Dr. Monica Emmanuel, stated that Nigeria had signed as an observer on the International Energy Charter.
In another development, Onu called on the Executive Vice Chairman, Pointblank Enterprise Inc., Florida, United Sates, Mr. Michael Freeman, to take advantage of the Executive Order Five to establish in the Nigerian market.
He made the call when the management Team of Pointblank Enterprise paid a courtesy call on him in Abuja on Tuesday.
Onu said the Federal Government would continue to facilitate the process of technology acquisition, adding that the African Continental Free Trade Zone would give them a large market to cover the whole of Africa.
In his opening remarks, Freeman stated that his company intends to enhance wide range of research and production in Nigeria through science and technology development.
…adopts strategies to boost investments
The Federal Government said on Wednesday that it had adopted five strategic pillars to drive its policies on the diversification of the nation’s economy and boost investments.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Edet Akpan, said the pillars would contribute to the ease of doing business in the country.
Speaking during a workshop organised for heads of information and media relations officers of government agencies and parastatals at the Oil and Gas Free Zone in Onne, Rivers State, Akpan explained that the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council was established to eliminate bureaucratic constraints in doing business in the country.
He listed the creation of an enabling environment and trade and investment implementation of Nigeria’s Industrial Revolution Plan as some of the strategic pillars adopted by the Federal Government.
Explaining that business incorporation processes were now being done online on the Corporate Affairs Commission’s portal, Akpan added that timelines for company registration had been revised and to be completed within 24 hours.
He stated, “In pursuant of the diversification process of this administration, the ministry has articulated five strategic pillars to drive its policies in order to achieve its mandate in diversifying the economy from oil to the non-oil sector.
“These are creating an enabling environment for industry, trade and investment implementation of the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, championing the cause of micro, small and medium enterprises’ development, proactively attracting domestic and foreign investments and market access facilitation.
“The ease of doing business is not something extraordinary, but it is the way the world is going and Nigerian cannot be left out.”
Represented by his Special Assistant, Mr. Kolawole Bakare, Akpan stated that even the World Bank had attested to the fact that Nigeria had improved in implementing the most regulatory reforms in the area of getting credit, starting a business, dealing with construction permits and paying taxes.
On the workshop, which had as its title, ‘The role of the media in improving ease of doing business in Nigeria’, Akpan said more investors had gained confidence to invest in the country due to the reforms by the PEBEC.
“For instance, the 145th position we have been ranked in the 2018 World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index is something we are proud of, and we are not looking back; we are hoping that in 2019, we will move close to below 100 in the ranking,” he added.
Earlier, the Managing Director, Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, Mr. Okon Umana, expressed the agency’s determination to attract more investments into the zones.
Represented by the Head, Operations and Technical Department, OGFZA, Mr. Adekunle Ajayi, Umana said, “In the free zones, one core factor is that everything must happen quickly without any bureaucracy and we also call them a one-stop-shop where an investor can come and do business without going outside the zones.
“So, the ease of doing business is just in line with the concept of the free zones. Our second goal is to grow investments in the zone and our core mandate is to attract investments into the oil and gas free zones.”