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Energy cost, availability key to trade competitiveness -Minister

The Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, has said energy cost and availability among other factors are key to trade competitiveness in…

The Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, has said energy cost and availability among other factors are key to trade competitiveness in Nigeria.

Adebayo who spoke at a Webinar organised by the World Trade Centre (WTC), Abuja with the theme:”Nigeria Trade Competitiveness; Imperative for Growth,” said energy use is crucial for almost every aspect of development: Wealth, health, nutrition, water, infrastructure, education, and human longevity.

He said Nigeria has faced challenges in its energy sector which has affected the business environment.

The Minister said, “Our unmet energy needs are significant and we expect that future demand will be even greater due to our expanding population and urbanization.

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“In addressing our energy constraints, we have also had to consider environmental sustainability and energy transition. Accordingly, we have introduced the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan designed to tackle the dual crises of energy, poverty and climate change and deliver SDG7 by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2060.

“The Energy Transition Implementation Working Group, Chaired by the Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo has been established for the implementation of the Plan.

“We are also launched an innovative, results-based, finance programme; the Universal Energy Facility that focuses on scaling up electricity access for productive use. The Universal Energy Facility will provide grant payments to enable solar companies expand their operations to small and medium-sized enterprises across Nigeria while crowding in additional private capital. Projects supported by the Universal Energy Facility will help grow businesses and create jobs, making them key contributors to our Energy Transition Plan.

“We are committed to putting in place the infrastructure needed to give our economy the productive and competitive edge that it needs to increase the basket of our tradable commodities and better the lives of every citizen. Various ministries, departments and agencies have delivered several infrastructural projects ranging from railway lines, airports, roads, port terminals, industrial parks, bridges, broadband, dams, etc.”

The Group Managing Director, Churchgate Group, managers of the WTC, Mr Vinay Mahtani, however, noted that Nigeria’s low ranking on the global competitiveness index demands immediate action to bridge negative output gaps and address any economic deficit.

He said despite Nigeria being Africa’s largest economy, with a GDP of $432.3 billion in 2020, according to the World Bank, and possessing one of the largest proven oil reserves on the continent, the still faces significant hurdles to reach its full potential.

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