Vice president Yemi Osinbajo has urged stakeholders in all sectors of the economy to embrace innovation and creativity in addressing the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Osinbajo who made the call at the 14th Annual Conference of the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics, in Abuja, yesterday, said the oil and gas sector which was the worst hit by the pandemic would be better off with all stakeholders coming together to strategise on new ways to move the sector forward.
The theme of the conference is “Strategic Responses of Energy Sector to COVID-19 impacts on African Economies.”
Represented by the special adviser on infrastructure to the president, Mr Ahmad Zakari, Osinbajo said the theme of the conference was apt, as Africa battling with high poverty level, needed energy for economic growth and development.
“The energy sector as one of the most critical sectors of all economies was impacted adversely by the pandemic due to lockdowns and restrictions in movement of people and halt of operations of many energy organisations.
“This brought huge losses for both public and private organisations, we also know that COVID-19 caused damage in the global economies but it provided a unique opportunity for thinking out of the box for solving most of the problems in the world.
“Looking at the level of academics among you, I have no doubt that you will bring out ways the energy sector will use to come out of various challenges that the pandemic has presented in the sector,’’ he said.
The vice president noted that the nation’s oil and gas sector has been coming up with projects that have the potential of evolving the sector.
According to him, the final Investment Decision on NLNG Train 7, the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline projects and others are good moves for the economy.
In his remarks, the minister of state for petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva, said Africa and Nigeria were most affected by the pandemic.
Sylva said that many nations in Africa had no access to energy which affected the economic growth and development of the continent.
“The most current report says that about 50 per cent of the continent’s population have no access to energy, that is about 600 million people have no access to electricity.
“It has also been widely reported that it has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic as the past one and half years has adversely affected energy development in the global world notwithstanding low carbon emission recorded,’’ he said.
According to him, the theme of the conference is strategic as there is a need for a strategic response for the energy sector to revive with the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in various economies.