By Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President
The Federal Government would not relent in its concerted efforts to improve the country’s power sector, including providing off-grid solutions such as renewable energy in order to rapidly grow and transform the nation’s economy, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday when he received a delegation from Total Group, led by its Chairman/CEO, Mr. Patrick Pouyanne, who paid him a courtesy call at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Vice President said the Buhari administration is making concerted efforts towards improving power generation in the country, such as using solar energy to provide power for sections of the populace.
He said the Federal Government would be ready to partner with the private sector such as Total that have indicated interest in making investments not only in oil and gas, but also in electricity/renewable energy.
Prof. Osinbajo noted that “there is a lot of work that has been done to provide off-grid alternatives such as solar power. We have done quite a bit through the Energizing Economies Initiative, to provide electricity to Nigerians in economic clusters. It would be interesting to see some pioneering efforts in this area of renewable energy; it is a good opportunity to do something in this area and would be a major contribution to Nigeria’s energy needs.”
The Vice President commended the group for its contribution to the economy, especially with an increase in local content, noting that he hoped for a more robust relationship between the group and the Federal Government.
In his remarks, Pouyanne, who congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President for their re-election, said the group has achieved a high percentage of local content participation in one of its projects (Egina FPSO) in Nigeria.
“Our commitment to the country is strong and we have ambition to continue to be a long partner with Nigeria. Total is a leader in solar (energy) and we want to invest in all these fields in Nigeria,” Pouyanne said.
Also present at the meeting was the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; who noted that it was important that oil companies have an integrated approach to community development.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, and other senior government officials, were also present at the meeting.