The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Adeleke Mamora, has given reasons why Nigeria remains a poor country despite being blessed.
The minister, who spoke at a workshop aimed at accelerating small hydropower investments in Nigeria, said the lack of capacity to turn potentials into reality has made the country underdeveloped despite its vast resources.
The event held on Tuesday in Abuja was organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation in collaboration with the Energy Commission of Nigeria.
He stated that the cliché of praising the abundance of natural resources will be of no value if conscious decisions are not made to ensure the utilisation of our potential into realities for our good.
He said, “In Nigeria, we are always talking about our potential, about what we can do, so many sources of renewable energy. But potential will remain as it is until we turn them into reality. And I ask what is the problem. Why are we so blessed and yet so poor?
“It is not a question I can address but for everyone to interrogate and make a conscious decision to ensure that we turn our potential into realities for our own good.
“For us to get to where we want to be, we must also develop our research and development because a country is as developed as its research and development initiatives. These are key factors that determine how we grow as a country.”
Outlining his thoughts, Mamora lamented the inability to secure investments in renewable energy sources despite a hydropower capacity of 24,000 megawatts in 278 potential sites across the country.
According to him, less than 3 per cent of this capacity has been used to improve electricity access.
However, he expressed optimism that the transformation of the energy sector would broaden Nigeria’s prosperity through partnership and dialogue.
“Collaboration between policymakers, academia, public financiers and private sector actors to effectively enhance investment in renewables especially small hydropower in Nigeria is a necessity to successfully attain the desired result, ” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State of Trade and Investment, Maryam Katagum, in her remarks, assured of government commitment to accelerate hydropower investment in the energy sector.
She said the workshop is to accelerate hydropower investments in Nigeria and increase awareness of the need to take advantage of the existing opportunities while harnessing and investing in huge, small hydropower potential sites scattered across the country.
The event’s highlight was the inauguration of a technical committee charged with identifying solutions and implementable policies to increase renewable energy investments.