The Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE) says global poor were the most affected by the Coronavirus pandemic especially within the African region.
The president of NAEE, Prof. Yinka Omoregbe, disclosed this at the pre-conference news conference in Abuja on Saturday.
She said that there was the need to have strategic discussion on the impact of the pandemic especially as it relates to the global energy discussion to achieve a strategic response.
She explained that the association chose the topic ‘Strategic responses of the Energy Sector to COVID-19 impact on African economies’ because the sector was adversely affected by the pandemic.
“The people most devastated by the pandemic are the poor.
“ If you look around the world, in America, the communities most impacted were the poor communities and those who are already suffering from inequality such as African and Hispanic populations.
“Similarly, even in countries that are homogeneous such as Nigeria, the people most impacted by this were the people that were already poor or dependent on daily money to survive.
“There are so many impacts particularly on the global poor as a result of the pandemic. Life expectancy has shortened,’’ she said.
She maintained that considering the on-going discussion on zero energy emission by 2050, Africa needs to chart a way forward as it is still battling with a high poverty rate.
She stressed that Africa needed to develop by growing its energy needs and create more innovative ways to achieve it.
“So we need to have some informed and strategic discussion in this area and this is why we have chosen and critically considered what the strategic responses of the energy sector should be to the impact of COVID-19 on Africa and its countries,’’ she said.
On the petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), she commended the national assembly for its passage in spite of criticism from oil bearing communities over the provision of three per cent of annual expenditure of operating companies as development fund.
She noted that though the bill seemed not perfect, it remained an important step in the reform process of the oil and gas industry.
According to her, it is impossible for the bill to satisfy everybody.
“We are happy that there is a PIB, what we are looking forward to is a Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), because we have been here before. Once we cross this bridge then we would have crossed a mighty hurdle.
“We now need to implement. I am always very nervous when somebody says let us go and rewrite because that is what has caused this delay. Somebody looks at it and says it has not covered my interest so let us rewrite it.
“We cannot get a perfect bill; it will always be controversial but we must not throw away the baby and the bathwater. There is a lot that is good in the PIB,’’ she said.