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Osinbajo Warns Country Against Withdrawing Funds On Gas Projects



Osinbajo Warns Country Against Withdrawing Funds On Gas Projects

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says efforts were currently underway to limit the development of gas projects in Africa, violating the principles of equity and justice enshrined in global agreements.

The vice president said much of the global investment in clean energy would need to go into Africa and advised that efforts be made to redirect global capital to the continent.

Osinbajo’ s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Tuesday, in Abuja, said the vice president made the submission at a virtual conference under the theme:  ‘Climate, Conflict, and Demography in Africa,’ jointly hosted by the International Crisis Group, the Royal African Society, and Africa Confidential.

READ ALSO: ‘Climate Change Cause Of Insecurity In Nigeria’ – UK Minister

Osinbajo had at different forums, raised the issue of financing of gas projects in developing countries, like Nigeria, advocating for a just transition and more effective engagements towards the target of Net-Zero Emission by 2050.

Because of the role of gas as a bridge fuel, to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix, and rapid transit away from firewood-based cooking fuel to natural gas-based cooking yields both environmental and health benefits.

“We continue to be the most adversely impacted by climate change, so much so that public resources that could help modernize the energy mix has to be redirected towards adaptation spending.

“But worse, we are being compelled to make disproportionately huge sacrifices as the wealthier countries continue full speed on defunding gas projects and insisting that gas projects must be defunded as an important component of the drive towards net-zero emissions by 2030.”

On the number of investments required in clean electricity – generation and grid storage infrastructure, Osinbajo said that to get the world on track for net-zero emissions by 2050, it would cost more than $1.6 trillion dollars per year by 2030, or four times more than what was invested in these sectors in 2020.

“In regions like Africa, installed electricity capacity will need to double by 2030 and increase at least five-fold by 2050.

“Our first obligation will always be to ensure the wellbeing of our people, through access to development services including electricity, healthcare, education, safe jobs, and a safe environment, including access to clean cooking fuels.

“We must prioritize solutions that align with development and climate agendas; this is absolutely important.

“The global climate conversation can only be equitable and inclusive by putting all people in all geographies at the heart of the endeavor to save the planet.

The vice president also spoke on the need to recognize and plan for growing energy demand, as this would be critical for driving growth, jobs, and economy-wide progress, and delivering healthcare and education services.

“Efforts are already underway in my country, Nigeria, and in several countries across the continent, to transition to large shares of clean energy sources to do so,” he said.

In attendance at the virtual event were Ghana’s Minister of Environment, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, who represented the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, Chairperson of the Royal African Society, Ms. Arunma Oteh, and Patrick Smith, publisher of Africa Confidential.

The event was moderated by Bola Mosuro, a Nigerian journalist.

National News

INEC Office Set Ablaze In Enugu State



INEC Office Set Ablaze In Enugu State

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reported that election materials were destroyed in Sunday morning’s attack on its Awgu Local Government Area office in Enugu State.

The commission disclosed this in a statement issued by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye on Sunday, in Abuja.

Okoye said the attack on the facility was reported by INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner for Enugu State, Mr. Emeka Ononamadu.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Relief For Travellers From India As FG Lifts Ban

Okoye said the office was set ablaze, resulting in extensive damage to mainly the stores’ section where election materials were kept.

Fortunately, all movable election materials had been evacuated following recent attacks on our offices in the State. There were no casualties during the incident.”

Okoye said the identity or motives of attackers were unknown, while the incident had been reported to the Nigeria Police Force for investigation.

He said the commission appreciated the prompt response of the security agencies comprising the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Army, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as well as the Enugu State Fire Service and the Awgu local government neighborhood watch.

He noted that the unfortunate incident was the first, since the last attack on INEC office four months ago in May 2021. 

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Buhari Addresses Banks, Ask For Investment In Housing, Others



Buhari Addresses Banks, Ask For Investment In Housing, Others

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have urged the financial sector to invest more in housing and rural electricity projects for the benefit of Nigerians.

The president and his vice gave the advice on Tuesday, at the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference, which was held simultaneously in Abuja and Lagos and streamed online from both locations.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, ”Economic recovery inclusion: The role of banking and finance”, they challenged the banking sector to do more for the country, in order to further boost the economy.

READ ALSO: FACT CHECK: Dangote Never Promised To Transfer His Assets To US

Buhari said that financial institutions must play an important role in the full implementation of the Nigerian digital transformational process, by collaborating with FinTech companies to develop new technologies that would continue to drive the Nigerian economy.

According to him, Nigeria needed financial intermediation, especially in the area of technology, following the effects of COVID-19, and especially that digital transformation had become the watchword for economic survival.

”The federal government is committed to enhancing the growth of the Nigerian economy and will continue to support the banks,” he said.

Osinbajo, on the other hand, stated that the banks needed to invest in housing and electricity projects, as they were not doing much in supporting the federal government’s efforts in those areas.

He observed that it was either the finance sector was shy to invest in housing projects, or it had not found the right housing finance model that would work for it.

”Nigeria does not have a functional mortgage housing system, which is the most reliable source of generating capital for individuals.

”Banks should come up with innovations such as housing financing, by supporting poverty reduction and economic growth. Ubiquitous housing, for example, will create employment and generate demand for related services,” the vice president said.

Osinbajo also called on the banks to join forces with the federal government to address climate change, especially in its efforts to move from fossil fuel-based power sources to renewable energy.

To achieve this, he said, the federal government established an integrated Solar system for the electrification of five million houses, to serve about 25 million Nigerians, under the Economic Sustainability Plan of government.

He disclosed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had set aside N150 billion for the programme, made available through the bank’s initiated programme that was administered by the banks.

”The programme has three core objectives: Expanding energy access to 25 million Nigerians; increasing local content; and creating value chains experience. The programme is designed to supply cheap financing for developers, manufacturers and suppliers of electric components.

”The federal government is providing a subsidy of between 20 to 30 per cent for each successful installation, through the rural electrification agency programme, to further de-risk each transaction and the project has been on in the last two years,” Osinbajo said.

He said that in spite of the federal government efforts, there had been very little uptake from commercial banks to catalyse installations or manufacture for the solar energy project.

Osinbajo, therefore, urged the Bankers’ Committee to redirect its focus in supporting the rural electrification power project, as this would ensure that the country catalyses access to electricity, in the next few months, by creating five million electricity connections that could erase the country’s electricity deficit and create jobs for Nigerians.

The Chairman, Conference Consultative Committee, Herbert Nwigwe, commended both President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo for addressing the conference.

Wigwe, who is also the Group MD of Access Bank Plc, also thanked the President of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefilele, for honouring the invitation to share their views at the conference.

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FG Launches Plan To Reduce Unemployment – Minister



FG Launches Plan To Reduce Unemployment - Minister

Mr. Sunday Dare, the Minister of Youth and Sport on Tuesday, said the  Federal Government had launched an action plan for youth job creation to minimize unemployment.

The Minister disclosed this in Abuja at the launch of the Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan (NIYEAP 2021-2024).

A statement signed by Malam Mohammed Manga, the Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, said the launch of the NIYEAP was an expression of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment.

READ ALSO: Dangote To Address Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate

”The plan is this Administration’s effort to continue to facilitate an enabling environment that will create about 3.7 million jobs annually, so as to achieve national development goals, particularly, sustainable economic growth in the country.

”The youth must and should be regarded as a viable investment that can yield positive benefits for all spheres of our socio-economic progress, better than a group targeted for periodic empowerment interventions”, Dare said.

The Minister noted that youth unemployment has really assumed an uncomfortable proportion and that its effect has not only led to frustration on the part of the youth but was also the underlying cause of poverty and youth restiveness in the country.

“It is important to state that the economic and social consequences of youth unemployment transcend the youth group. It has also resulted in missed economic opportunities for the nation.

”Youth inclusion is about skilled human capital, social and economic stability, a vibrant and healthy labor force, which will also engender political stability and national growth and development”, the statement read.

The Minister said it was in realization of the importance of providing opportunities for sustainable economic engagement of youth, that the NIYEAP was being presented.

He said the plan was being presented to stakeholders as a framework that would address fragmentation, promote synergy, mobilize resources and deliver a comprehensive approach to youth employment interventions, through multi-sectoral collaboration.

He said that while the plan emphasized the 4Es: Employability, Entrepreneurship Development, Employment Creation, Equality and rights, it also detailed actions required in support of employment creation for youth in critical economic and social sectors and outlines the financing, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation frameworks.

“The priority themes of the plan, known as the 4Es are, “further delineated into strategic lines of action under each theme, with emphasis on sectors that have high job creation potentials.

”Sectors such as Digital Economy, Rural Economy, Green Economy and Renewable energy sector, Manufacturing, Tourism, Construction, and Services.

” The Plan will also ensure the inclusion of partners across sectors and will create a robust partnership base through which my Ministry will ensure wider reach of youth employment programs across the country.

”To ensure inclusion from the grassroots, the Ministry of Youth and Sport will also be convening zonal inception workshops on the NIYEAP. Stakeholders from the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory will be included in the implementation of the plan.

”I urge all stakeholders from the public, private sectors and development partners to take a risk and invest in youth for the purpose of economic growth and development, I assure you that it will be worth it, with benefits for the development of our nation and the global community,” Dare said.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Nebeolisa Anako, stated that the action plan would provide kinetic solutions to youth unemployment and restiveness, through multi-sectoral collaboration.

In a goodwill message to the launch, Mr. Jean Bakole, the UNIDO Representative to ECOWAS and Regional Director, said the launch was apt, as it was coming when it was most needed as the world faced a worsening youth unemployment crisis, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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