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Entrepreneurs seek tax waivers on renewable energy products, say manpower development necessary



renewable energy sector

Some entrepreneurs in the renewable energy sector on Wednesday called for tax waivers on renewable energy products in order to increase access and encourage more people to use green alternatives.

The entrepreneurs stated this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan while speaking on the importance of manpower development in renewable energy in Nigeria.

The Chief Executive Officer of Gacht Solar, Adekunle Audu, said training and retraining were essential to the uptake of renewable energy in Nigeria, especially the off-grid solar technology.

Audu commended Nexgen Energy for organising training for small and medium entrepreneurs to ensure renewable energy has wider acceptance through excellent service delivery.

According to him, the training opened him to new opportunities and networking which have been aiding his venture.

“The Customs duties we pay on our goods when we import (them) is so much and since power is one of the problems in Nigeria, if the government can at least do a tax waiver on some of our products it will really go a long way in helping the power sector,” Audu said.

Also, the Managing Director of Goldmine Technosolar Company, Mr John Olateju, said knowledge of renewable energy products and installation techniques were salient skills essentials for distributors of renewable energy.

He said this was due to constant technological advancement.

According to him, the Techfine training he attended was a good one which created networking among dealers, installers and stakeholders in the industry.

“If such a programme is organised from time to time, it will help installers to operate efficiently and have a voice which will be to the betterment of the nation at large,” Olateju said.

He said government could do a lot to make the renewable energy sector viable, such as encouraging end-users to take to renewable energy through various incentives.

Olateju said such a strategy would make the products affordable and available with the option of loan repayments to uptake renewable energy spread over five to 10 years.

“Considering the economy of this country, the government should be abler to do more than it is already doing, so that the price of renewable energy can be affordable to Nigerians,” he said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Starkbase Consult, Mr Abiodun Oluborode, said manpower development through training and re-training helps people to acquire knowledge.

He said such knowledge would translate to growth and development, especially for start-up businesses.

Oluborode said he had acquired training from Nexgen Energy on how to calculate load on solar energy for installation for clients which had to improve service delivery.

He pointed out that this was something he did not know prior to the training.

Oluborode said most entrepreneurs who want to venture into the renewable energy business had been developing cold feet due to high taxes on the product.

He said this was in spite of the opportunities created by incessant power outages.

“The government should reduce tax one way or the other and encourage people to go into solar. You can see what is happening. Businesses are going down due to lack of power supply from the national grid.

“It should also encourage start-up’s’ businesses by providing them grants, especially for those who are into solar as it is being done for those in the agriculture sector.

”This is because I have a lot of people who want to go into the business, but they do not have the capital,” Oluborode said.

Also, a Sales Representative of Greenlife Power System, Mr Ayo Ogundiya, said government should provide an enabling environment for renewable energy operators.

He added that there were a lot of opportunities in renewable energy in Nigeria and, if harnessed, they can thrive and contribute to the economy of the nation.


Virgin Galactic to launch its first space tourism flight



Virgin Galactic to launch its first space tourism flight

An 80-year old former Olympian with Parkinson’s disease would be one of three passengers on board Virgin Galactic’s first space tourism flight when it blasts off on Thursday.

Jon Goodwin, from Newcastle, would join Keisha Schahaff, 46, and her daughter Anastatia Mayers, 18, who is studying physics in Aberdeen, on the VSS Unity for the 90-minute trip.

The two women would be the first mother and daughter to make a trip to space after winning a coveted place in a prize draw.

Goodwin secured his seat 18 years ago after buying a 250,000 dollars ticket.

It would be taking off at 4 p.m. (1500 GMT) from New Mexico in the U.S., in the mothership VMS Eve and VSS Unity.

It would separate and take them into sub-orbital space, where they would briefly experience weightlessness, while looking back at Earth.

The trip would raise funds for Space for Humanity, a non-profit group which seeks to send ordinary citizens into space to give them a grander perspective on the challenges facing Earth.

The three would be joined by astronaut instructor Beth Moses.

In June Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic successfully completed the company’s first commercial spaceflight, taking Italian astronauts into space to conduct a number of scientific experiments.

The company is calling the first private astronaut mission on Thursday Galactic 02.

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FG lauds FGGC Sagamu on development of robots



FG lauds FGGC Sagamu on development of robots

(Photo: Mr Andrew Adejoh, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education and Kiki Saggy during the event in Abuja)

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Andrew Adejoh has lauded the efforts of students of Federal Government Girls’ Colleges (FGGC) Sagamu, for the development of a robot named Okikiola Sagamu aka ‘Kiki Saggy’.

Adejoh gave the commendation in his speech at an event to present and demonstrate how Kiki Saggy operates in the area of Artificial Intelligence on Tuesday in Abuja.

The permanent secretary congratulated the school’s leadership and the Robotics Team of the school.

He added that he was thrilled by their human minds and effort in the development of Kiki Saggy.

“I have seen same technology twice. Today, I am seeing this. I want to congratulate the unity colleges community for coming out with these ideas.

“Unity colleges should be taking the lead, and robotics is happening to present that opportunity for us to be number one.

“And like I have always challenged others, I am challenging Saggy Queens on this robot; think of extending your effort to also include something that will serve food in your cafeteria.

“If you succeed in doing that, a bigger and brighter opportunity will open for you to explore. So this is a big job and I congratulate you.

“I know you might have spent a lot of resources and thinking. This is what you should do more, because technologically speaking, the world is going to be driven by artificial intelligence in the next five years,” he said.

According to him, it is already happening in advance countries, stressing that in other countries in Asia there is a restaurant where everything is done by robots.

“So it is good that you students are catching up and we as a ministry are also trying to look at our curriculum. We have discussed with NERDC and they said they have done that for secondary schools.

“But we said that if you have done that for secondary schools, what about the base (primary schools); the base is also necessary. Children in developed world begin playing with computer in primary school,” he said.

Speaking, the Director/Principal of FGGC Sagamu, Dr Muyibat Olodo, said she led the college’s Robotic Team which consists of some students and members of staff who are coaches to the ministry.

“I led them here to present to you an innovation of the college, a HUMANOID named Okikiola Sagamu aka Kiki Saggy.

“The reason for the name is that FGGC Sagamu has been known for many initiatives and innovations since I assumed duty in the college.

“Okikiola means “the game of wealth”. Definitely, FGGC Sagamu has a wealth of knowledge in its students and teachers and the same time, Okikiola Sagamu is bringing the college to the limelight.
“We pray that FGGC Sagamu in particular will continue to remain in the limelight for the good of and all Federal Unity Colleges across the country,” Olodo said.
Meanwhile, one of the students, Miss Esther Ogunaike said Kiki Saggy is purposeful, stressing that it can bend and pick things, and can be used for industrial purposes.
According to her, the version of Kiki Saggy is the first, adding that the team hopes that in the next version, it will be improved upon.
“We have a big plan for it,” she said.
However, the SS 2 student explained that the process of building Kiki Saggy was not an easy task.
“Building was a bit challenging, especially the software, hardware, programming, cutting and drilling of holes. It is not easy.
“A foundation helped us. Also, Madam Lisa from the United States was of assistance to us.

“We are hoping that the Ministry of Education will give us the support and encouragement for us to make a better version of Kiki Saggy,” Ogunaike said.

The event attracted officials of the Ministry of Education and other relevant stakeholders.

NAN also reports that high point of the event was the demonstration by the team where stakeholders interacted with robot.

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