Seun Sulieman: How Presidential inauguration can unlock new economic opportunities
Seun Sulieman, Managing Director, Siemens Energy Nigeria The inauguration of the new President of the Federal Republic, Bola Ahmed Asiwaju Tinubu, provides a significant opportunity for Nigeria to quickly tackle some of the nations most significant and pressing challenges. Access to reliable, affordable, and clean electricity is the backbone of any countrys economy and is fundamental to socioeconomic growth. As such, repairing and upgrading Nigerias power sector will have immense associated benefits across the country, for the economy and for society. Access to electricity enables business and industry to operate, makes education widely available, allows transport to move, and allows society to function successfully. Unfortunately, currently around 80 million Nigerians, which is more than 40% of the population, do not have access to electricity. This is despite the fact that, of the 13 GW of installed electricity capacity, only approximately 3.4 GW reaches households. The government has an opportunity to capitalize on the momentum of the Presidents appointment and push forward progress on key projects like the (https://www.siemens-energy.com/africa/en/company/about-us-africa/presidential-power-initiative.html). Domestic problems and solutions Recognizing the urgency of the current situation of economic headwinds and social unrest, the PPI is a readily available solution that can effectively overcome many of the main problems and unlock the potential for sustainable energy development in the country. The PPI has been designed to help connect, stabilize, and expand the nations electricity grid, but also increase government income, create jobs, diversify the economy, and jumpstart the countrys regeneration. This collaborative mega project will facilitate the transfer of knowledge, technical capacity building, and the deployment of advanced energy solutions in Nigeria. By prioritizing attention on upgrading the country's electricity infrastructure, improving transmission and distribution networks, and increasing power generation capacity, jobs will be created, access to energy will expand, and reliability of power will be improved. This is the basis for business and industry to flourish. The PPI agreement, signed in 2019, serves as a framework to transform Nigeria's power sector over the course of several phases. Siemens Energy has worked closely with our partners, and we have fulfilled our obligations, but progress so far has been slower than we would like, delayed by Covid, politics, and elections. But now, with renewed government support and revived focus on delivering the megaproject, together we can transform the nation. There are thousands of transformers, hundreds of distribution substations to be upgraded and built, and more than twenty transmission substations to be executed across Nigeria in phase one alone. Immediately as equipment is connected to the grid, Nigerians will start to experience improved electricity supply. The implementation of the PPI will facilitate training and job opportunities, in addition to the young professionals in the power sector that are already being trained on power simulation systems. Green future potential While energy generation and stabilizing our grid is a high priority for the country, we need to also keep renewable energy initiatives and decarbonizing our energy systems as equal priority. This will not only reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels but also contribute to mitigating climate change whilst creating job opportunities. The new government can facilitate and accelerate progress by unlocking investment and prioritizing policy reforms to create an enabling environment for energy development. This requires streamlining regulations, promoting transparency, and attracting private sector investments. Implementing investor-friendly policies, such as tax incentives and risk mitigation mechanisms, will encourage participation from domestic and international players in the energy sector. The development of a modern energy system and power grid will also pave the way for increased renewables, and the development of new fuels like hydrogen. To meet The National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy vision of 30:30:30, which aims at achieving 30 GW of electricity by 2030 with renewable energy contributing 30% of the energy mix, a modern, reliable, and resilient grid is needed. Ultimately, nearly 60% of Nigerias energy demand in 2050 can be met with renewable energy sources, saving 40% in natural gas and 65% in oil needs at the same time, according to the [InternationalRenewable Energy Agency (https://www.irena.org/News/pressreleases/2023/Jan/Renewables-Can-Provide-Nearly-60-Per-Cent-of-Nigerias-Energy-Demand-by-2050). Rich with natural and renewable resources, home to over 200 million people, and with the largest GDP in Africa, Nigeria has unparalleled potential and can serve as a roadmap for growth and energy transition across the continent and beyond. Nigeria is currently at a defining moment with the inauguration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The expectation for the new administration is high, luckily, the President has a proven track record of success, and we hope that this will continue in his new role. This government has the potential to leave a long-lasting legacy of progressive development that sets the foundation for exponential growth and the transformation of the nation. With a legacy of more than 50 years of collaboration with Nigeria, Siemens Energy remains committed to the success of the country and ready to continue working with the new administration to achieve its energy development goals.