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Ethanol industry can boost Nigeria’s economy

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Nigeria could save $7.4bn by reducing cassava waste and enhancing the economy.

According to Senior Consultant Agwu Ojowu from Africa Practice, the formation of the ethanol industry as a biofuel has the potential to save Nigeria from spending about $7.4 billion annually. Ojowu discussed the uses of ethanol as a biofuel in his presentation at the Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria(MEMAN) Competency Centre Series workshop, conducted virtually through Zoom. In his research, he stated that approximately 40 percent of cassava, a major ethanol source, is lost during its annual production of 63 million metric tons, equating to about $7.4 billion in losses.

He emphasised that the country is responsible for a significant 26 per cent of the world’s cassava output. Every year, 40 percent of the yield is wasted, but producing ethanol can reduce these losses, leading to Economic Stability and increasing the value of the Naira. He explained the advantages and possibilities of ethanol as a Sustainable Energy option for the country, stating that it has the potential to meet the country’s energy demands and simultaneously promote Economic Development and Environmental Protection.

MEMAN collaborates with the media to promote energy solutions nationwide.

Speaking further, he mentioned that the sectors offer several economic, environmental, and agricultural advantages without requiring process changes. In 2007, the country embarked on its ethanol journey by implementing a biofuel policy that required a 10 percent ethanol mixture in fuel, as he stated. Ethanol has shown great promise despite facing limitations, such as the policy being suspended 2008 over blending issues. It is a more affordable alternative to petrol and has a history of creating economic opportunities, indicating that a properly managed biofuel industry could be profitable.

During the workshop, Clement Isong, the Executive Secretary of MEMAN, stressed the vital importance of Renewable Energy in the country’s fight against energy Poverty. He pointed out the significance of utilising various energy sources such as Biofuels, hydroelectricity, wind energy and solar power potential to establish a well-rounded and lasting energy blend. MEMAN is dedicated to actively collaborating with media outlets and key industry players to promote energy solutions that align with the country’s requirements.

Partnership between stakeholders and Media is essential to this goal.

Furthermore, he shared his positive outlook on the prospects of renewable energy in the country and the ongoing initiatives to improve communication with the media and promote collaboration within the industry. He stated that MEMAN is investigating the variety of energy sources available nationwide, specifically concentrating on bridging the gap between Supply and Demand within the country’s energy sector. He emphasised that the association is hopeful for the future of renewable energy, believing it to be the solution to the country’s energy requirements. He emphasised that ethanol as a biofuel can revolutionise the country’s energy sector and open the door to a stable and prosperous future.

In addition, the country’s ethanol industry development holds the potential to improve its Economy by reducing its reliance on costly fuel imports. By converting the 40 percent of cassava currently wasted into ethanol, Nigeria could save more funds. This waste reduction would enhance economic stability and increase the value of the naira by decreasing the demand for foreign exchange required for fuel imports. Also, it can create new job opportunities, stimulate rural development, and promote agricultural Productivity by providing farmers with a stable market for cassava, thereby enhancing their income and livelihood.

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To fully capitalise on the renewable sectors’ potential, the federal government can implement and enforce policies that encourage the production and use of it as a biofuel. They can incentivise private investments in its production facilities and Infrastructure, such as Tax breaks and Subsidies. Moreover, investing in research and development to improve its production technologies and addressing any blending issues can ensure a consistent and high-quality supply. By promoting a supportive regulatory environment and encouraging public-private partnerships, the government can utilise the industry’s benefits to drive Economic Growth, reduce energy poverty, and contribute to environmental Sustainability.


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