The United Kingdom has pledged to assist Nigeria in resolving its power supply crisis, saying that it is committed to the nation’s stability and development by sharing her skills, knowledge and expertise.
The UK said it would see how its investment in the solar energy market could provide a clean and reliable answer to the nation’s energy access problem.
The UK Minister for Africa, Grant Shapps, who arrived on his first visit to Nigeria on Monday in Abuja, said he planned to meet with senior government officials including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; and the Kaduna and Lagos State governors.
Shapps said, “With more than half of Nigeria currently living without electricity, it is vital that more people can access clean and reliable solar energy. Not only will this transform people’s everyday lives, it is a tremendous opportunity for growth. I am determined that Britain will build on its close relationship with Nigeria, by sharing our skills, knowledge and expertise.”
The minister noted that UK was providing a comprehensive package of support to Nigeria, including expanded military training and intelligence cooperation, anti-corruption capacity building and investigative support, and an annual development programme worth £218m and a trade relationship worth £6.1bn per year.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Economic Society has said that poverty and inequality persist in the country’s economy due to inadequate application of buoyant economic analysis.
The NES also noted that shallow implementation of relevant economic policies had deprived the country of economic development despite the consistent growth in the economy from 2010.
Speaking at the 56th Annual Conference in Abuja, the NES National President, Prof. Olu Ajakaye, observed that the Nigerian economy is characterised by the paradox of growth and deepening poverty, as well as worsening inequality.
“Specifically, the annual growth rate of between 6.5 per cent and 7.5 per cent recorded since 2010 in our country has been accompanied by dwindling decent employment opportunities for the teeming youthful population,” he said.
He noted that Nigeria’s economic growth could be much higher and much more inclusive and diversified through provision of high productivity job opportunities for the teeming youth and phasing out of low productivity, peasant and informal sector activities.
According to him, low productivity in the agricultural sector and informal services sector, which are declining secondary sector activities, deepened poverty and worsened inequality.
Ajakaye said, “There is no doubt that the prospects of high growth abound in our country, with its huge natural resource base and its huge labour population. However, there are challenges in the following areas–infrastructure including transportation, telecommunication, water supply, irrigation and power supply.”