Conference takes tough stand on gas flaring
Consideration of the report of the Committee on Energy was completed on Monday with a resolution by the Conference that the powers of the minister to grant exemption to gas flaring should be abolished under Nigerian laws.
It was also resolved that all new non-associated gas produced in Nigeria be reserved for the domestic market until such a time that domestic quota is satisfied; and that a pricing regime for gas should be developed to make this possible.
Conference adopted the recommendation on a total ban on the flaring of associated gas and that any oil field that does not have infrastructure to capture associated gas should be shut down by the end of 2014.
Delegates agreed that communities in the Niger Delta region be paid adequate compensation for gas flaring that has affected their lives and environment.
It was equally resolved that proceeds from pollution tax to be collected from oil companies be used to clean up communities that are impacted by oil spill.
Conference demanded immediate initiation of efforts to clean-up oil spill and restore degraded environments in the Niger Delta in line with the recommendations of the United National Environment Programme.
In order to make fuel supply available to people in the riverine areas, Conference resolved that government should investigate why the floating petrol stations built in the past have not worked, and take steps to resuscitate them.
It was also resolved that government finds immediate means of improving gas supply and transmission to ramp up power delivery to the system as a solution to current cash shortfall in the sector.
In addition, Conference said government should implement the National Gas Plan whose main objective is to transmit gas to all the states of the federation for industrial and domestic use and to the Independent Power Projects.
Delegates however voted against a declaration of a state of emergency in the power sector in line with the promise made in 2008 by the late President Umaru Yar'Adua during a visit to France.
It was however resolved that government should release take-off grant to the Hydro Electric Power Area Development Commission so that communities in river banks would have access to power.
Adequate representation of Nigerian engineers in the planning and implementation of all aspects of the power sector reform programme was also recommended by the Conference.
Delegates also asked government to ensure level playing ground for the independent power producers and other genuine investors in the power business.
As a matter of urgency, Conference said government must set up a committee to review the current National Electric Power Policy to make it suitable to provide a quantum leap required to propel Nigeria into the top 20 economies of the world; and that the Electric Power Sector Reform Act be aligned with the new policy.
It was observed that this might involve revisiting the contract entered into with the new private owners with a view to charting a way forward that would ensure increased, improved quality and sustainable electrical power supplies to Nigerians.
Conference agreed that the new private power companies be given two years to stabilize and provide efficient electricity supply to every Nigerian.
To realise the vision of providing electric power supply at affordable cost, Conference resolved that a deliberate policy be put in place to encourage local production of spare parts and all electrical equipment needed by the electricity supply industry.
Politicians, especially elected public officials, and aspiring politicians had a demand placed on them; that of making availability and usage of liquefied petroleum gas part of their constituency project undertaking.
Government was urged to consider the construction of mini-refineries in each state of the federation as is done and sustained in Indonesia and Malaysia.
Conference called for the establishment of the Niger Delta Energy Corridor to serve as a veritable tool for the rapid industrialization of the country.
The development of simple solar appliances for home use received a unanimous approval of the Conference.
Delegates urged government to immediately conduct full implementation of the Electricity Reform Act as enacted in the interest of the national economy.