By Lizzy Okoji
Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis, has tasked Members States to enforce policies and regulations to ensure efficiency and address the electricity challenges in the region.
Tunis made the call at the closing of the ECOWAS Parliament delocalised meeting on “Ensuring energy efficiency in West Africa holding in Abidjan, Cote d’Iviore.
The meeting which began on Tuesday, is with theme: “Ensuring energy efficiency in West Africa with emphasis on innovation, active involvement of the Private sector and citizen participation.
Emphasising on the need for Private Sector Partnership as a critical factor for achieving efficiency energy sector, Tunis noted that it is important for to drive the process through effective policies.
Tunis said that the meeting, in line with its specific objectives, sought to understand the greater issues of energy efficiency measures, build capability in energy management.
He also noted that outcomes from the meeting seeks to encourage research and development in energy efficient technologies and raise the awareness of the public on the role of the private sector in energy conservation.
“That is why there could have been no better theme than the one selected for this meeting, which is “Ensuring energy efficiency in West Africa through innovation, active involvement of the private sector and citizen participation.
“Even more important was the disclosure of the opportunities that energy efficiency provides and how investments in energy provide relatively quick returns with a high degree of certainty.
“As one of the most-powerful forces for improving lives, strengthening communities, and accelerating countries towards self-reliance.
“Private sector engagement and the approaches it leverages builds the skills, resources, knowledge, and incentives needed to improve the sector.
“Perhaps, in an effort to manage the Energy sector, Governments can be the effective regulators, while the private sector addresses issues relating to access and provide technical and operational capacity.
“Moreover, a lot can be done to reduce investors’ perception of risk. Public finance is expected to play a crucial role in creating the enabling environment, using public funds as a mobilization tool to attract private capital.
“Governments can ensure commitment to long-term policies and necessary regulatory tools, in addition to creating special lending facilities aiming to provide direct support and facilitate renewable energy.
“As a result of the quality of experts we pulled, the discussions became an exposure to a sector that is largely untapped.
“Guests and representatives have demonstrated amazing interest in energy efficiency and inspiring enthusiasm in its future development. To improve the standard of living across our region, we must continuously explore newer technologies and innovations.
“Therefore, I firmly believe that the closing of this Joint Committee meeting is not an end, but a new starting point.
“Let us look ahead into the future and build a high-end and prudent platform for regional energy development.
“The good news is that we now know the significant impact we can make by moving towards energy efficiency. So, we know what must be done. We must develop the political will to do it”, Tunis said.
Tunis said it is unfortunate to learn that businesses and individuals are not capitalizing on the opportunities in the sector, due to barriers, such as lack of awareness, as well as non-availability of resources.
He said that consequently, this meeting has facilitated the sharing of information, approaches and practical applications in effective energy management.
“It is my sincere wish that the outcome of our deliberations has galvanized participants into action. While improving energy efficiency is about dollars and cents, its impact on society is far reaching.
“It is about protecting our energy resources and ensuring environmental sustainability for future generations.
“We are also inclined to emphasize that private sector engagement is fundamental to our goal of achieving energy efficiency”, Tunis added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Parliamentarians also called on governments to reduce electricity tariffs in their respective counties. (NAN)