The House of Representatives over the weekend called on the Energy Commission on Nigeria (ECN) leadership to use available resources to reposition the nation as a renewable energy hub.
House Science, Technology and Innovation Committee Chairman Hon Beni Lar, who handed responsibility during oversight visits to the ECN and the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), stressed the need to leverage NOTAP-based resources Bid to make Nigeria a technological hub.
Hon Lar explained that oversight of both agencies goes beyond determining compliance and implementation by the agencies.
According to Hon Lar, the ECN is the only government agency charged with advancing the UN’s climate change agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals in relation to energy sources and uses.
“With over four decades of operational existence, this energy think tank has a strategic role to prepare and lead the nation into the era of post-crude oil dominance that is now steering us in the face.
“The multiple quantum leaps in the advancement of science and technology are trending towards renewable and more climate-friendly energy sources, which should alarm the leaders of the Nigerian project, especially the ECN, as the future of fossil fuels looks very bleak.”
The Chair explained that the Committee has also decided to aggressively and strategically dedicate all legislative resources to ECN to find new, reliable and forward-looking sources for foreign exchange earners.
For NOTAP, the Chair noted that the agency is tracking the influx of technology into Nigeria and developing appropriate strategies for its adoption and domestication.
“May I rightly state that NOTAP occupies a crucial place in Nigeria’s scientific progress or further development, I would like to state without further ado that the current DG has refocused the office to achieve its ambitious goals.”
She claimed the oversight would be the first in a series of commitments as the committee focuses on ensuring the agency maximizes the benefits inherent in the technologies available to the nation and that it complies with required provisions of the constitution.
In his presentation, Nigeria Energy Commission Director-General Professor Jidare Bala said the budget for 2022 is N12.5 billion, with 79.55 percent released.
According to him, the agency’s main sources of income are tender fees, freedom of information, withholding tax, VAT, stamp duty and grants.
Prof. Bala, who clarified that there had been no intervention funds from the government since 2009, noted that the commission was N4.7 billion in debt from constituency projects, which he said the commission paid to the federal ministry of finance the debt management office took over the debt.
“I would like to recall some of the challenges we face. I told you about our debt, a huge debt of about 4.7 billion naira that we owed to contractors for constituency projects that were done from 2009 to 2012 today, but we haven’t incurred any debt since 2013.
“The second is the insufficient physical infrastructure in the head office, you can see this building is small and we have about 731 employees and if it’s up to us we already have our design for our parking lot, we want a 12-story Buildings have building to be named Nigeria Energy House.”
Earlier, NOTAP Director-General Mr. Danazumi Ibrahim stated that N624 billion was forecast as revenue, with N406 billion generated while N377 million was budgeted with N263 million released.
The Director General explained that before any software can be deployed in the country, a Nigerian IT company must be involved in the deployment.
He said the committee had some challenges in the range of over N1.7m on diesel for generators, staff shortages as a result of the suspension of employment as it asked for funds to hire more staff.
Some members of the committee noted that the equipment used by the agency for most of its research was outdated as they required full disclosure of all expenditure.
The committee asked the two agencies to provide it with details of documents on budgetary performance, revenue sources, debt, internally generated revenue, among others.
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Repositioning Nigeria as a Renewable Energy Hub, Technology Hub, Reps Task ECN, NOTAP