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Africa: Energy Transition Should Be Just, Fair to Nigeria, Africa – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, urged the developed economies to work towards making energy transition process just and fair to Nigeria and other African countries.

Developed nations had severally condemned the funding, production, and utilization, arguing that they culminated in climate change and other environmental hazards.

But speaking at the ongoing African Energy Week, AEW, in Cape Town, South Africa, the former President noted that the developed nations used oil and gas to attain their development aspirations and turned back to condemn after achieving their targets.

He said: “They said we cannot use our oil and gas resources. But these are the same resources they used to develop their economies. They want to keep us perpetually underdeveloped. We reject it.

“The developed nations need to grant us energy justice. We in Africa need energy justice to decide how and when to implement our independent energy transition plans.”

Similarly, the Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber, NJ Ayuk, said: “African countries need to explore and produce their energy resources, including crude oil, gas, and coal in order to generate adequate revenue for development. We need revenue for sustainable development and implementation of our energy transition plans.

“The governments of different oil and gas need to sign contracts with the International Oil Companies, IoCs, and other investors. We also need to protect women against all forms of harassment in workplaces.”

Also, the Secretary General, African Petroleum Producers Association, APPO, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, said: “Nigeria and other African nations do not only need funds for development. “

He also charged the developed nations to clean the world they polluted over many years in the process of moving from one stage of development to another through the use of fossil fuels and other energy resources.

On his part, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, Simbi Wabote, urged African nations to work towards deepening local content in their respective countries, using the example set by Nigeria.

He said: “The first step towards enhancing local content capacity is to make it a National Agenda. This will make it clear to all and sundry that local procurement, fabrication, and manufacturing are a national priority such that all institutions, businesses, decision makers, investors, and citizens will buy into the vision.

“This National Agenda setting needs to be backed with the appropriate legislation or legal framework such as a law, decree, executive order, or policy depending on the political peculiarities of the country.

“In Nigeria, we started with policy directives to deepen local content practice in our oil and gas sector. In 2010, we enacted the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development, NOGICD, Act which gives stronger legal backing for the implementation of the policies.

“With the law in place, it is no longer possible to comply with local content requirements in the oil and gas sector on a ‘best endeavour’ basis’.

“One of the key provisions in the NOGICD Act is that First Consideration shall be given to Nigerian Operators in the award of blocks and licenses, Nigerian goods, and services, and in the employment and training of Nigerians.

“This provision has helped in enhancing the growth of local capacities in engineering, fabrication, indigenous oil producers, and service companies.

“Having rallied the consciousness of the citizenry on the importance of enhancing local capacities, it is important to establish factual data on current capacities in-country. This data gathering will not be limited only to the equipment and facilities but must include demography, natural endowments, current skill sets, and other local peculiarities.

“This will aid in carrying out a gap analysis between current realities and the national vision. I have always emphasised that Local Content is not ‘copy and paste’. It is a fact that there are localities that have a sense of pride and affinity for certain types of professions or enterprises such as mining, farming, logistics, fabrication, hospitality, creative arts, medicine, trading, manufacturing, and others.

“These must be factored into programmes aimed at enhancing local capabilities. Periodic gap analyses are essential to determine gaps that need to be closed and the progress being made in the target areas of interest.

“Let me highlight once again that the gaps to be closed must be driven by local circumstances and aspirations. Is it human capacity development, employment, development of local service industry, infrastructure, local manufacturing, or putting in place a sovereign wealth fund?

“Some may want to target “all of the above” but may end up achieving “none of the above”. It is therefore important to get the priorities in the correct and achievable order.

“For us in Nigeria, we set aspirational targets as contained in the schedule of our local content law. The NOGICD Act has set minimum targets in 278 service categories across the oil and gas value chain to enhance the participation of local businesses in the oil and gas supply chain and its linkage sectors.”

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