Buhari solicits IAEA’s support to develop nuclear energy infrastructure

*President Muhammadu Buhari.

*President Muhammadu Buhari.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

17 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has solicited the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, for Nigeria’s aspiration to generate electricity using nuclear energy.

Buhari made the statement on Wednesday in Abuja when he met with the Director-General of the IAEA, Mr Yukiya Amano.

The President expressed delight that the IAEA was developing a programme from which Nigeria would benefit, even as he charged the IAEA to do more to support Nigeria in view of the long years of its association and support for the nuclear regulatory agency.

In his remarks, Amano said he was pleased to see that Nigeria was taking the correct steps toward safe usage of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The Ministers of Power, Solid Minerals, Health, Science and Technology, who briefed the meeting, said that preparatory steps are taken so far included the training of doctors and other medical specialists to prepare for unforeseen circumstances.

They revealed that other steps included the establishment of specialist medical centres and the procurement of necessary equipment aimed at protecting the health of the citizens.

According to the Ministers, Nigeria is aspiring to start a programme in the coming years that will give the country 1,000 megawatts of electricity in the first instance, to be increased to 4,000 megawatts thereafter.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has identified inadequate electric power supply as the biggest problem facing Nigeria’s private sector operators.

The Bank made this known in its latest study entitled: The Nigerian Private Sector and its Challenges, presented by its Specialist, Finance and Private Sector, Mr Michael Wong, in Abuja, yesterday, adding that the two other worst problems of confronting businesses are corruption and access to finance.

According to Wong, “Nigerian managers of formal firms were most likely to report electricity, corruption and access to finance as serious obstacles to business performance. Firms in Nigeria are significantly more affected by power outages than firms in comparator countries.

“Nigerian firm managers reported that losses due to power outages were approximately 17 per cent of sales. Firms in Lagos and other Southern states reported the highest losses- equivalent to more than 20 per cent of sales. Firms in Northern states rank political instability among the biggest constraint.”

The report further berated “the drive to shore up Internally Generated Revenue of the last Lagos State government under Mr Babatunde Fashola as an impediment to operational growth by companies that responded in the study.”

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