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100m Nigerians are without reliable power —FG

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By Usman Oladimeji

Inconsistent power supply affects commercial industrial productivity.

Despite investing billions of Naira in electricity subsidies over the past few years, the federal government has acknowledged that more than 100 million Nigerians continue to lack access to consistent and reliable power supply. During the final day of the Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES) in Abuja, Olu Verheijen, President Bola Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Energy, highlighted the detrimental effects of Nigeria’s macroeconomic challenges and inconsistent power supply on the productivity of the commercial and industrial sectors, hindering economic growth.

Having observed the situation, she pointed out that businesses in countries like Nigeria are facing challenges due to the combination of high operational expenses and decreased productivity, causing them to lose their competitive edge on both the international and domestic markets. As a consequence, job opportunities are limited, and income growth is hindered. Also, there has been a consistent underutilization of electricity for productive purposes over the years. The imbalance in power consumption has resulted in a situation where over 70 percent of the total electricity consumed is used by residential households.

Tinubu is striving to tackle the root causes of these issues.

She also pointed out that the majority of Nigerians, more than 70 percent of the country’s population, falls below the poverty line, defined internationally as living on less than $3.20 per day, resulting in a lack of access to electricity. Nevertheless, she noted President Bola Tinubu is striving to tackle the root causes of these issues, ultimately aiming to improve energy accessibility for all Nigerians. A collaborative team made up of various government departments, including the ministry of finance, ministry of budget and planning, ministry of power, and the office of the special adviser on energy, is working diligently on implementing reforms and projects to increase electricity accessibility and improve its productive utilization.

Verheijen mentioned that her department was actively involved in assisting with administrative tasks and coordinating efforts for the presidential metering project. The main objective of the project is to decrease the total technical commercial and collection losses, currently at approximately 47 percent, to the internationally recognized standards of 12 percent to 15 percent. Chief Adebayo Adelabu, the Minister of Power, said tackling the power issue collaboratively is crucial, highlighting its significant impact on poverty, healthcare, education, and overall quality of life, as well as the potential to reduce the level of unemployment within the country.

Efforts were underway to establish gas supply agreements.

Considering this, it is evident why many well regarded developed countries prioritize ensuring sufficient power supply in order to make significant strides in industrial advancement. For instance, South Korea, with a population of around 49 million, produces 130,000mw of electricity. Adelabu pointed out that as the 700mw Zungeru Hydropower project prepares to connect to the grid within the next two weeks and efforts continue to finalize infrastructure for the 40mw Kashimbilla Hydro plant, there is optimism for a gradual enhancement in power supply through the grid over the upcoming months.

He mentioned that efforts were underway by the government to establish gas supply agreements for the power plants associated with the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP), which are overseen by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC). Senator George Akume, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), gave assurance that the federal government is committed to securing Nigeria as the headquarters for the upcoming Africa Energy Bank (AEB). Akume highlighted the summit’s emphasis on the intricate issues Nigeria is encountering in the ever-changing global energy sector, as outlined by the theme Navigating the New Energy World Order: Security, Transition, and Finance.

Related Article: Nigeria needs $34bn for reliable power supply

Akume elaborated that the theme serves as a reminder that it is imperative for all parties involved to work together to tackle the pressing issues related to energy security, transition, and financial sustainability rather than merely mirroring our present conditions. During his final remarks representing Minister of State Petroleum Resource (Oil) Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, Permanent Secretary Agbo Ella of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources explained how the summit was a valuable experience of exchanging ideas, working together, and looking ahead. He assured the attendees that a detailed report summarizing the summit’s outcomes will be compiled and distributed to both delegates and the federal government.

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