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Following the oil price surge, Nigeria should develop and boost an electric vehicle market – CEO, Ceesolar



In the transitional phase from July to September 2023, the international oil market witnessed an upward surge, pushing the Brent crude market beyond the significant threshold of $94 per barrel.

Chibueze Ekeh, the Chief Executive Officer, sat down with ThePressNG to dissect the ramifications of this price escalation for Nigeria.

Ekeh asserted that while the rise in oil prices presents a dual-edged scenario for the nation, it notably underscores the urgent imperative of pivoting towards an electricity-centric automotive landscape.

He emphasizes that while heightened oil prices potentially burden the average Nigerian with escalated costs, they concurrently serve as a clarion call for the Nigerian government to expedite its transition towards an electricity-driven auto market.

This transition, he suggested, holds the key to effectively managing the amplified financial burdens cast upon citizens due to the surge in oil prices.

The analysis navigated the intricate balance between global oil dynamics and the pressing need for Nigeria to metamorphose its auto industry into an electricity-propelled realm, ultimately ensuring sustainability and economic resilience in the face of oscillating oil markets.

Below are excerpts from the interview:

ThePressNG: As Nigeria looks to develop a thriving gas market, how do you see the country’s energy market unfolding as global oil prices keep rising, Brent crude is currently above $94 per barrel.

Chibueze Ekeh: The current dynamics in the global and local energy market present a fascinating landscape. On a global scale, oil prices have seen a consistent upward trajectory, further amplified locally by the recent removal of petrol subsidies, and increasing domestic petrol prices.

However, gas, closely tied to oil, is under price regulation domestically, suggesting stability.

In this scenario, diesel, petrol, and electricity prices have all experienced recent hikes. As these elements constitute major inputs in production, the consequential inflationary effect has been palpable, affecting the costs of goods and services. Should oil prices continue their ascent, a domino effect is expected.

The government could witness a boost in tax revenues, and energy companies might see a surge in profits. However, this could translate into increased costs for the average Nigerian.

Yet, with strategic fiscal and monetary policies and enhanced collaboration between pertinent government bodies such as CBN, FIRS, NNPC, and other relevant MDAs, a promising opportunity emerges to steer the economy back on a prosperous course. It is at this pivotal juncture that judicious decisions and cohesive actions can shape a robust and sustainable economic future.

ThePressNG: If electric vehicles (EVs) are an option for Nigeria, how do we navigate that solution given the fact that we have no reliable power sector? There is simply no power supply, can we achieve both at the same time?

Chibueze Ekeh: Simultaneous adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and ensuring a reliable power supply is entirely within our reach. Electric vehicles operate on battery power and can be charged using various electricity sources, including the grid, solar energy, or other alternatives.

To enhance power supply reliability, we should harness the potential of distributed renewable energy sources. Globally, there is a growing shift towards renewable energy and the integration of electric vehicles.

In developed nations, electric car batteries are emerging as substantial contributors to the grid’s power supply. When these vehicles are connected to the grid and not in use for transportation, their batteries provide backup power.

Nigeria can derive significant advantages by aligning with this trend. Embracing electric vehicles not only bridges the power supply gap but also offers sustainable alternatives to vehicles powered by petrol or compressed natural gas (CNG).

The path to a future where clean, reliable energy and modern transportation coexist is clear, presenting immense potential for our nation.

ThePressNG: From your experience working in the energy sector, are Nigerians ready to adopt Electric Vehicles? Bear in mind that the current inflation rate is 25.8% and affordability is a problem for millions of people.

Chibueze Ekeh: Inflation has unquestionably surged, yet Nigerians possess a remarkable resilience, willingly investing in goods or services that enhance their productivity. Nigerians have a knack for swiftly embracing the latest technologies once made accessible to them.

A prime example is the revolution brought about by the telecommunications sector, where despite sim cards initially being perceived as relatively expensive, their rapid and extensive adoption was unexpected.

Once a widespread understanding is cultivated, illuminating the long-term cost-benefit dynamics between petrol, CNG, and electric vehicles, the adoption of EVs is destined to soar. Nigerians, when presented with compelling evidence and the promise of advantageous outcomes, have consistently showcased a propensity for embracing progressive technologies that promise a sustainable and efficient future.

The obstacle of affordability indeed stands as a significant hurdle, but intriguingly, it also unfurls a colossal opportunity.

Picture this: over a 5-year horizon, the expenses tied to procuring and charging a new electric vehicle at designated charging stations might plummet below the outlay involved in purchasing and fueling a petrol-driven counterpart for an equivalent period.