It has been calculated that in Year 2023, some Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government in Nigeria will spend an estimated N22 billion on maintenance and fueling generators as a result of unstable power supply in the country. This estimated amount is likely to increase as many agencies refused indication of their generator expenses in the 2023 budget proposal. Without increment, the N22 billion is projected to be spent by over 200 MDAs in Nigeria.
Institutions whose budgetary expenditures on generators were omitted in the government’s budget include Federal Revenue Service (FIRS), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Customs Service, and others. Nigeria has unsuccessfully struggled with unstable power supplies for many decades which is mostly caused by generation and transmission problems. In 2022, last year, Nigeria’s national grid collapsed eight times. Resultantly, private and public businesses resort to alternative electricity sources, particularly generators.
92 million people lack access to power in Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2018, alleged that Nigerians do not rely much on generators in their homes and for business operations. Analysts responded to this claim with disagreement because many Nigerians keep suffering from the continuous effect of unstable power access. The Energy Progress Report 2022 which was released by Tracking SDG 7 affirmed that across the globe, Nigeria has the lowest access to electricity and of its over 200 million population, about 92 million people lack access to power.
Details of budgetary expenditures from ministries, departments and agencies state that many MDAs are choosing alternative power sources; producers in Nigeria expend about N3.5 trillion to seek alternative sources of power supplies to enable production. The mode of maintenance on generator sets planned by the MDAs currently lacks clarity, regardless, there is an estimation of billions of naira to be expended on generators. In June 2022, the World Bank asserted that in the next ten years, Nigeria will require about $100 billion to combat challenges in the energy sector.
Institutions with the highest proposals for generator maintenance.
At the top in the list of institutions with the biggest proposals is the Nigerian Army which presented a N1.1 billion budgetary proposal for generator maintenance. However, Onyema Nwachukwu, spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, withheld provision of details of the planned expenditure in December 2022. Also, generator maintenance for the Federal Road Safety Commission will cost N663 million. The Nigerian Police formation will spend a total of N591 million. Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital will expend N303 million while the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) have a budget of N298 million.
Additionally, the budgetary proposal for the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria is N238 million. The National Eye Centre Kaduna will spend the sum of N230 million. The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) proposed a budget of N277.8 million. The Nigerian Navy likewise proposed a N224 million budget. Nigerian Film Corporation came up with a budget of N188 million. Office of the Auditor General of the Federation has a budget of N160 million. Similarly, the Federal University of Agriculture Umudike, the University of Lagos and the Nigerian Defence Academy budgeted N225 million, N218 million and N211 million respectively.
Budgetary expenditure on generators is a waste of national resources.
The former Chairman of the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sam Amadi, said that the government’s budgetary allocation for generators implies that its privatization exercise did not fulfill their expectations. He stated that the aim of the reform is to guarantee that the government spends less on the power sector and spends more on human development projects. Ijeoma Okereke-Adagba, a programme officer at the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, also admitted that the budgetary expenditure on generators is a waste of national resources.