The federal government has lashed out at Western countries and multilateral development institutions for hampering her efforts to provide stable electricity supply to Nigerians.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the on-going International Monetary Fund (IMF)/ World Bank meeting in Washington DC finance minister Mrs. Kemi Adeosun called the multilateral institutions and their western backers hypocrites for denying Nigeria and other African countries the use coal to generate electricity in their countries.
According to Adeosun “I am going to point fingers at multilateral institutions and the west, a good example is the coal-fired power plant, we in Nigeria have coal but we have power problem, yet we’ve been blocked because it is not green, there is some hypocrisy because we have the entire western industrialization built on coal energy, that is the competitive advantage that they have been using, now Africa wants to use coal and suddenly they are saying oh! You have to use solar and the wind (renewable energy) which are the most expensive, after the western countries have been polluting the environment for hundreds of years and now that Africa wants to use coal they deny us.”
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She agreed that Africa needs to make investment in infrastructure but the playing field must be leveled “we need policy consistency to attract bankable projects, we also need macroeconomic stability, but if you want to phase out coal, no problem but those who started it should lead, those who want us to stop using dirty fuel should stop it first before telling us not to use it. By telling us not to use coal they are pushing us into the destructive cycle of underdevelopment, while you have the competitive advantages, you tie our hands behind us” she said.
Adeosun went ahead to state categorically that she “would sign up to a global proposal that is fair, with a morally viable sequence that demands that the rich countries have to close their coal fields first before other countries have to do anything.”
Professor Paul Collier of the University of Oxford who agreed with the finance minister called that “an ethical commitment from an African minister.”
Nigeria’s finance minister lamented that huge infrastructure gap all over the world and stated that even if the federal government spends all its annual budget for five years on infrastructure, it cannot close Nigeria’s infrastructure gap. The global infrastructure deficit stands at $1.5 trillion.