The House of Representatives has taken a significant step towards a greener and more sustainable energy future in Nigeria by passing for second reading a bill to provide a policy framework for the development of bio-fuels energy industry in Nigeria.
The bill, sponsored by Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu, along with Hon. Khadija Bukar Ibrahim and Hon. Babajimi Benson, seeks to establish the Bio-Fuels Energy Regulatory Commission and the Bio-Fuels Research Agency, to promote the production and use of bio-fuels as alternatives to fossil fuels.
Vanguard reported that Hon. Kalu, who is the deputy speaker of the house, said in his lead debate that the bill aims to implement the bio-fuel policy that was introduced by Nigeria in 2007 to address climate change concerns, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and promote economic diversification.
He said that the policy was designed to incentivize the production of bio-ethanol and bio-diesel for blending with fossil fuels, but progress has been limited due to the absence of a regulatory framework.
He said that the bill would rectify this gap and provide the necessary framework for growth, as well as offer incentives such as exemptions on withholding tax, waivers on value added tax, and waivers on import and customs duties.
He also highlighted the numerous benefits of developing the bio-fuels energy sector, such as improved petroleum product quality, additional tax revenue, job creation, economic development, rural empowerment, improved farming techniques, increased agricultural research, higher crop demand, co-generation of electric power, and reduced emissions.
He therefore urged his colleagues to support the bill’s second reading and it was referred to the relevant committee for further legislative action.
The bill comprises 56 clauses and one schedule and is divided into fourteen parts. Its primary objective is to provide a policy framework for the bio-fuel industry’s development and establish the Bio-Fuels Energy Regulatory Commission and the Bio-Fuels Research Agency.