Many positive-minded Nigerians love to say ‘Impossible is not in my dictionary’, but only if they can bring to reality that idea into the nation’s challenging power sector will it do so much good.
Hopes were heightened and the expectations of the people lingered after the emergence of Babatunde Raji Fashola as the minister of power; it was believed that the brilliance he exhibited while he occupied the seat of Lagos State governor would make it easy for him to succeed radiantly in his new appointment as the Minister of Power, Works and Housing.
One year is over now, despite the institutionalizing of new power tariffs, power plant commissioning and projects inaugurations, Nigerians are really not impressed by Fashola’s effort in improving the power sector.
His comments at the end of the second edition of the National Council on Power, in Kaduna, last week (Thursday, July 14, 2016), reveals that it may be impossible for Nigerians to have constant power supply in the next few years.
Here are some of the factors hindering constant power in Nigeria:
- Improper execution of power-related contracts by workers and contractors – There are many lapses in the power sector, but the biggest challenge is that many of the power projects which have been approved and adequately provided for are not carried out. The infidelity of contractors towards carrying out these projects as expected robs many Nigerians of electricity.
- Total dependence on one source of power – Over 60% of power consumed in Nigeria comes from hydro-electric power (HEP) stations which have led to over dependency and extreme pressure, while ignoring the possibilities of significant quantities from other energy sources. Adoption of other power sources such as sun, wind and biomass will take Nigeria closer to producing constant power for use in different communities. The northern part, for instance, has an advantage of solar energy.
- Incessant vandalizing activity by hoodlums – The impious act by hoodlums at gas pipelines is a worrisome and unfortunate constant factor for persistent epileptic power supply in Nigeria. So much money has to go into the repair of damaged facilities to restore power in affected areas. The government and security agencies are also unable to put much effort in place to successfully curb this act.
- Reluctance of host communities to make sacrifices to provide electricity assets for the benefit of their people – Much lies on the hands of host communities in supporting the efforts of the government in ensuring proper circulating of power. Royal leaders and traditional rulers in some cases have out rightly repelled the government from instituting power in their community.
- Poor ambiance to encourage potential private investors from investing in the power sector – Enticing organized private sector to contribute positively in Nigeria’s power sector is a giant leap to restructuring the system and this can be done through recommending pragmatic policies and legislations which can be sustained. If the government can see to creating proper ambiance that encourages private investments, this will lead to the creation of thousands of job opportunities for unemployed Nigerians and synergy between different ministries.
- Use of unworkable regulatory policy framework in the power sector which leads to huge debts by the distribution companies – The Federal Government of Nigeria has an enviable policy that can build the power sector and end low supply of electricity. In March 2001, the National Electric Power Policy (NEPP) was adopted to set out some critical objectives which include establishment of a Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to manage the rural electrification fund, development of a wholesale electricity market, establishment of an independent regulatory agency. Till date these policy have not seen the light of the day.
- Limited access to power sources by the Government – It is obvious that the Federal Government of Nigeria needs to tap into other viable sources in a bid to expand the energy mix for new power plants; this will necessitate special efforts and engagements of some professionals in related fields which the government is yet to give a shot.
Prof. Chinedu Nebo, Nigeria’s former Minister of Power had also mentioned in 2014 that “nobody in the world can provide 24/7 electricity everywhere in Nigeria”.
Research have stated that for Nigeria to have uninterrupted 24-hour power supply, there is a need of 160,000 megawatts which is a far cry from the current capacity which is less than 3,000 megawatts.
– Seyifunmi Adebote for encomium.ng