Govt sees potential in waste-to-power initiatives, demands more research

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

26 February 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government has called for more research to be carried out on the best way to convert waste materials to improve power supply.

*Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister og Power, Works & Housing.

*Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Power, Works & Housing.

The Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Baba Shehuri, who made the call recently while receiving the Vice Chancellor and members of the governing council of the University of Maiduguri, disclosed that the waste-to-wealth programme can greatly improve power supply in the country if properly implemented.

Shehuri stated that the programme will, in addition to balancing the energy mix, also address environmental issues, adding that the initiative is also capable of “boosting the economic activities of Nigerians through the eradication of waste dump sites and landfills that usually pollute the air and water, especially in low-income and high density populated areas where waste generation is traditionally high.”

The minister called on the university and other academic institutions in the country to “guide students through training, research, and practical demonstrations on how recycling, composting and zero waste initiatives can improve power generation, thereby reducing the need for disposal facilities and, most importantly, enhancing economic activities.”

Speaking earlier, the vice chancellor of the university, Professor Ibrahim Njodi, informed the minister about the institutions forthcoming 22nd Convocation and 40th Anniversary ceremonies scheduled for April, 2016. He stated that the university has not had any convocation ceremony since 2010 due to the insurgency in the state, in particular, and the North East region, in general. Njodi further hinted that this year’s convocation ceremony will showcase the university’s developmental strides in both human capital and infrastructure despite the prevailing security challenges.

In a related development, the minister has called on relevant Danish companies to come and invest in the construction and power sectors of the Nigerian economy, assuring them of the government’s cooperation. He made this call when a high-powered business delegation from Denmark paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja, informing them that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government is desirous of attracting investors into the country and prepared to create the enabling environment.

He said, “I want to reaffirm to you the current administration’s intention to create an attractive environment for the influx of foreign direct investments into the country. President Muhammadu Buhari has made it clear that infrastructure will be the primary driver for generating jobs and fast-tracking development in Nigeria, and it is in the light of this that I wish to invite more Danish companies to invest in Nigeria’s construction and power infrastructure sectors of the economy,” the minister told the delegation.

Shehuri, who noted that for decades Nigeria and Denmark have shared bilateral economic relationships, said that the trade volume between the two countries towards the end of 2015 recorded about €1.5 million (about N330 million), and that at least 38 top Danish companies came to Nigeria to explore investment opportunities in the country within the year.

Earlier in his remarks, the Danish foreign minister, Mr Kristian Jensen, who led the investors, said that the Danish business delegation came on the visit to seek ways of partnering with the Nigerian government in order to bring about rapid development to the power sector.

Jensen said that he was in the country to reopen the Danish Embassy which has remained closed for some time now in Nigeria. The delegation was comprised of representatives of various Danish companies with specialty in manufacturing.

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