Many have been speculating about the new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and expecting big changes in the country’s situation, putting it at the center of attention. It was estimated that the Tinubu-led administration can generate millions of employment in the solar energy sector, according to Dr. Sunny Akpoyibo, President of Asteven Group, Council on Renewable Energy in Nigeria (CREN) and founder of Asteven Renewable Energy Institute. Dr. Akpoyibo said in an interview in Abuja that adequate partnership and engagement of private sector actors in the industry are necessary to attain the goal of generating employment.
To help more than 20 million Nigerians get employment, he suggested the president proclaim a solar energy training emergency programme for at least 500 youths from each of the country’s local governments over the next four years. In addition, the president of CREN and Asteven Group urged the Federal Government to collaborate with other stakeholders like the States, the National Assembly, NGOs, non-profit foundations, oil companies, and private companies to invest in youths, thus preventing the loss of billions of Naira in potential exports.
Nigeria ranks low sticking to the energy transformation plan.
A recent study conducted by economic analysts and experts estimates that by 2023, Nigeria’s unemployed rate will rise to almost 40%, adding to many challenges facing the current administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This is a big warning sign compared to the impact of unemployment in 2018, when it was roughly half as high as the current speculation, leading to an increase in insecurity and a historically high rate of crime, most of which is committed by youths.
On the other hand, Dr. Sunny Akpoyibo emphasized that the experts prediction may be significantly lower than what would be recorded in the days ahead due to the recent removal of fuel subsidies. In spite of having more than 100 million young people and a large amount of untapped solar energy potential, Nigeria still ranks dismally low sticking to the energy transformation programme in terms of both securing technical expertise and the production of products.
So many young people rather seek white collar jobs.
In his opinion, a large number of Nigerian youths are uninformed about the industry and, as a result, have failed to take advantage of the enormous potential obtainable there. When they could become self-sufficient by learning the skills necessary to work in the solar energy industry, so many young people instead seek for white collar jobs. This proves that a sizable portion of today’s youth are still adrift to embrace the solar energy industry for all its potential.
While the previous administration of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari initiatives such as Solar Naija Home, Energising Education, Energising Markets and Solar off-grid, among others were well developed to be effective, at the same time they failed to last because they lacked a sustainability plan to prevent further losses. More so, several initiatives carried out by government agencies were implemented with inadequate plans for the deployment of technical expertise to assure the long-term viability and upkeep of the endeavors.
Currently, Nigeria produces 37 megawatts of solar energy.
Citing an example, he questioned how solar companies could send individuals all the way from Akwa-Ibom to Kano, where there are reportedly very few locally trained solar technicians. He said that it would be unrealistic to expect the expert to travel from Akwa-Ibom to Kano whenever the system is faulty. Dr. Akpoyibo stated that Nigeria is only producing 37 megawatts of solar energy currently, despite the country’s potential of 500,000 megawatts and estimated billions of dollars in economic value to help youths become economically independent and self-sufficient.