By Edith Ike-Eboh
The Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE) says global poor were the most affected by the Coronavirus pandemic especially within the African region.
The President of NAEE, Prof. Yinka Omoregbe, disclosed this at the Pre Conference news conference in Abuja on Saturday.
She said that there was the need to have strategic discussion on the impact of the pandemic especially as it relates to the global energy discussion to achieve a strategic response.
She said that the association chose the topic ‘Strategic responses of the Energy Sector to COVID-19 impact on African economies’ because the sector was adversely affected by the pandemic.
“The people most devastated by the Pandemic are the poor.
“ If you look around the world, in America, the communities most impacted were the poor communities and those who are already suffering from inequality such as African and Hispanic populations.
“Similarly, even in countries that are homogenous such as Nigeria, the people most impacted by this were the people that were already poor or dependant on daily money to survive.
“There are so many impacts particularly on the global poor as a result of the pandemic. Life expectancy have shortened,’’ she said.
She said that considering the on-going discussion on zero energy emission by 2050, Africa needed to chat a way forward as it is still battling with high poverty rate.
She said that Africa needed to develop by growing its energy needs and create more innovative ways to achieve it.
“So we need to have some informed and strategic discussion in this area and this is why we have chosen and critically consider what the strategic responses of the energy sector should be to the impact of COVID-19 on Africa and its countries,’’ she said.
On the petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), she commended the national assembly for its passage in spite of criticism from oil bearing communities over the provision of three per cent of annual expenditure of operating company as development fund.
She noted that though the bill seemed not perfect, it remained an important step in the reform process of the oil and gas industry.
According to her, it is impossible for the bill to satisfy everybody.
“We are happy that there is a PIB, what we are looking forward to is a Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), because we have been here before. Once we cross this bridge then we would have crossed a mighty hurdle.
“We now need to implement. I am always very nervous when somebody say let’s go and rewrite because that is what has caused this delay. Somebody looks at it and says it has not covered my interest so let rewrite it.
“We cannot get a perfect Bill; it will always be controversial but we must not throw away the baby and the bath water. There is a lot that is good in the PIB,’’ she said.
She commended all the sponsors of the conference and assured that 14th conference would come out with suggestions that would further help to strengthen the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
In his intervention, a former President of NAEE and Director, Centre for Energy and Law, University of Ibadan, Prof. Adeola Adenikinju, said the conference would have policy makers, industry leaders and academics in attendance.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)