ECOWAS Electricity agency assures stable, affordable energy
By, Adoba Echono
The Chairman, ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority, (ERERA), Mr. Laurent Tossou, has assured ECOWAS citizens of cost-effective green energy.
Mr Tossou disclosed this in an interview with journalists on the side-lines of the 89th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Abuja, Nigeria.
This is coming after the launch of the second phase of the Electricity Market in 2023.
The first phase of the Regional Electricity Market was launched in June 2018 in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
The second phase will introduce a day-ahead, competitive market and will help to promote efficiency.
Mr Tossou reiterated ERERA’s commitment to strengthening electricity market in West Africa.
He pledged his commitment to the launch of the second phase of the market and approval of critical documents to regulate the market.
These, he said, would better place ERERA in a position to achieve its main objectives of regional market development.“There are still a lot more work to be done. We need to establish all the rules to monitor the electricity market in ECOWAS, although some rules have been established before now”, Mr. Tossou said.
According to him, “we are now preparing for the second phase of the market, and this means that we are going into competition. There are technical, legal, economic, and commercial issues that are being looked into”.
Mr Tossou said that after the launch of the second phase of the electricity market, ERERA will regulate and harmonise the electricity market among member states electricity institutions, sustainable and affordable electricity for the good of the people.
“We just finished the swearing in ceremony, it is symbolic but very important. You know that the Heads of States have established the market in the West Africa power pool since 2008 and they did a mission for four institutions in which we have ERERA.
“ERERA have some objectives, regulate the market of electricity, establish the rules of electricity market and try to accompany all the countries, who had the need to establish on each of them the same institutions of regulatory authorities in electricity.
“Since 2018, the Ministers of ECOWAS have launched the first phase of electricity market in which we will like to be sure that the bilateral contract signed is well done and they can exchange easily the electricity between each other.
“They also expect that the grid will be done from, Nigeria to the Gambia on one way to facilitate the communication, the trans-border exchange of electricity between each countries of ECOWAS.
“Now, ERERA is preparing the second phase of electricity market because we need to be in competition.
“The market is consisted of the products, the clients and also the government and we need to establish competition in other to help the people of each country to have affordable electricity, sustainable electricity and a cost that is very good for each people.
“And the objective of ERERA is to establish the rule in other to monitor this kind of market which is very critical because many things are involved, legal affairs, economic affairs and technical affairs.
“And ERERA is in charge to establish all the roles to monitor this electricity market.
“Today, we are sending a voice to each country that we need to build together this market because electricity is the base of development and we are sure that they will follow us on the rules that are going to be established,” Tossou said.
Responding to concerns on green/renewable energy, Tossou said that it was not possible to talk about sustainable and effective power in the 21st century without talking of green energy.
The ERERA Chairman said that Africa and the West African sub-region is blessed with a lot of natural resources which ERERA will efficiently harness for renewable energy especially in a bid to address the dangers of climate change.
“We cannot talk about electricity today without green power because we have luck that God gave us some of resource and we will see the way we can explore and make it working this sustainable energy.
“We also have a responsibility to monitor the sector of renewable energy,” Tossou said.
The Chairman of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) was sworn in by the President of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, Honourable Justice Edward Amoako Asante.
Mr Tossou took his oath of office before the ECOWAS Council of Ministers at its 89th statutory meeting on 1st December 1, 2022 at the headquarters of the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja.
The swearing-in was held in accordance with ECOWAS provisions defining the composition, organization, functions and operation of ERERA, which prescribe that, “on assumption of office, at the session of the Council of Ministers, each Member of the Regulatory Council shall take an oath, which shall be administered by the President of the Community Court of Justice…”
The ceremony also served to regularize the appointment of Mr Tossou who assumed duty as Chairman of the regional electricity regulatory body.
This event marks the second swearing-in of ERERA’s Regulatory Council Chairmen.
The oath of office for ERERA’s Regulatory Council members properly positions them to play their role as rule makers and supervisors of the Regional Electricity Market and in readiness for the commencement of the second phase expected in 2023.
In another development :
-ECOWAS Council of Ministers holds session in Nigeria,
The Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, is initiating and embarking on new programmes and projects that will have meaningful impact on the life of citizens.
The President of ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Touray, who stated this at the opening ceremony of the Eighty – Ninth Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Abuja, Nigeria, said these reforms will also foster close cooperation among member states and economic integration of the region.
Dr Touray said that the new management of the ECOWAS Commission is committed to delivering institutional reforms, restoring constitutional rule to Mali, Guinea and Burkina-Faso.
“Our management team assumed duty within a context of institutional reforms and important developments in the region and the world.
“The size of the Commission has been reduced as part of the institutional reforms, but the work of realigning the new structures and improving the processes and procedures of the Organisation is just starting.
“With this also is the task of ensuring that the programmes and projects of ECOWAS are redesigned to ensure higher impact on the lives of the Community citizens and also foster close cooperation among member states and economic integration of the sub region.
“While working on repositioning our Community institutions, we also have the task of continuing with efforts to restore constitutionalism in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea and to halt the reversals of democracy in the region through instituting a stronger regime against all forms of anti-constitutional changes of government.
“On the other hand, we have terrorism and violent extremism that persist in the region and threaten to spread from the Sahel to the coastal states.
“In this regard, ECOWAS is required to pool together different initiatives in the region and coordinate the effective implementation of its regional action plan against terrorism,” Touray said.
The Nigerian Minister of State, Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, charged the Ministers to come up with initiatives that will promote economic integration.
Ambassador Dada said that the Ordinary session of the Council of Ministers remains a veritable platform for reviewing the programmes of ECOWAS and brainstorming on, thematic issues of the region.
He said that the Session also creates a platform for providing substantive advice to our Heads of State and Government on the best way to advance our collective aspiration of an ECOWAS of the people.
“Indeed, this year’s agenda is robust, which is a testament to the commitment of ECOWAS Institutions and Member States to the integration and developmental goals of our region.
“At this August gathering, we will consider like we did in the past, several issues affecting critical areas of the Community through reports and memoranda on our agenda.
“As an assembly of stakeholders with a collective responsibility of deciding on matters relating to integration and development in our region.
“It behoves on us to discuss all items on our agenda with open mind in order to find solutions to the numerous challenges threatening our region,” Dada said.
The Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Minister Suzi Carla Bearbosa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, of Guinea Bissau who declared the two day session open called for the need to put measures in place that will strengthen governance in the region.
Ms Suzi Barbosa, said that the sub-region has been troubled by human and food insecurity, and incessant coup d’états, climate change and other issues.
Ms Barbosa said that the two-day session of the Council of ECOWAS Ministers seeks to come up with viable solutions which would be presented to the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of States and Government.
“Similar to what has happened in other parts of the globe, the economies of the countries of our regional community have witnessed the regressive effects of the covid19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine-Rissia.
“Through food crisis and scarcity of other products that constitute essential goods for our populations.
“Furthermore, our sub-region has been troubled by human insecurity and violent extremism, and more recently by new waves of coups d’état, guided by uncertain compromises.
“Which represents elements of fragility of some Member States in implementing mechanisms that guarantee the sustainability of the values of democracy and good governance.
“As a consequence, we are witnessing increasing situations of human poverty and vulnerabilities such as climate change, irregular rainfall, waves of internal displacement, forced migration, communities kidnapped by armed bandits, among others.
“In response to the challenges for better economic cooperation and regional integration, several initiatives have been put into practice at the level of each member state, but also at the level of ECOWAS institutions, coordinated by the Commission.
“I would you like to highlight the importance of 89th Session of the Council of Ministers, which coincides with an important moment for the implementation of reforms that can guarantee efficient functioning and the effective use of the scarce resources available.
“In this way, we are invited to look at various projects, through various presentations of reports, and to assume the responsibility of agreeing on them the necessary guidelines in favor of the challenges we face.
“From the financial situation and fulfilment of our obligations through managing our resources and implementing infrastructure projects that catalyze economic growth and consequent human development,” Barbosa said.
The ECOWAS Council of Ministers is convened to discuss issues confronting the regions and come up with recommendations to be presented ECOWAS Heads of States.
The Ministerial meeting will also focus on strengthening governance and political stability in the region, address food insecurity, terrorism and extremism among other challenges.
At the opening session, statutory appointees of ECOWAS Institutions; the new management of the ECOWAS Commission,
Heads of ECOWAS institutions took their oath of office administered by the President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, Justice Edward AmoakoAsante.