The Federal Government needs to urgently intervene in the power sector because of the central role it plays in the nation’s economy. I think that power supply should be a social service. The Federal Government should not leave this sector completely in the hands of private investors because government has a role to play for stability and efficiency.
Our lives depend on power; the economy of a nation depends on power; and if you look at everything we do for a living in Nigeria, they all depend on power. Unfortunately, power supply has been decreasing in Nigeria while the population is growing geometrically.
Although power supply is near zero in many areas across Nigeria, what the distribution companies are charging is too expensive and they are still planning to increase it from its current N25 per kilowatt to N68 per kilowatt. This will kill many businesses. The electricity regulatory agency should make sure that the DISCOS are forced to charge Nigerians affordable tariffs, especially in this season of recession.
I believe power generation will be boosted if government can contact universities and other research centres to make research into how we can use other natural resources we have to generate electricity. We should not depend on hydro and gas for power generation alone. Government must make sure that we tap into our numerous natural resources available abundantly all over the country to generate power.
Coal is available in abundance in Enugu State, but Nigeria has not explored the opportunity of generating electricity from this natural resource. We should look at this and other resources to improve our power generation
Government should invest in other means of power generation like wind and solar. If coal is tapped into, power generated through it would be supplied to consumers in the south-eastern states and hydro will service those states close to where this is available and solar power will be used to serve those states where this is abundantly available all year round.
- Mr. Olawole Oladapo (Secretary, Civil Societies Coalition for Emancipation of Osun)
The power sector is one major infrastructure that the government, in my opinion, has not done the proper thing about.
Privatisation of the power sector entails that core investors bring in investments, but currently, nothing has been added in terms of investments since the core investors purchased the distribution companies. There are a lot of problems with the privatisation exercise earlier carried out.
There is a need to take a second look at the contract between the government and the discos. Government should determine whether they have met the conditions of sale. If they have not, the Federal Government may have to look into it again.
These investors should be made to meet their financial obligations. If they cannot, they can fall back on government. The government can pick it up from them and give it to other investors. In the alternative, government can assist them by giving them loans at a reasonable interest rate.
The public is suffering; the relevant government agency should increase its supervisory functions to ensure that the power sector is functional. There should also be a level to which people can sell electrical hardware. Government should partner citizens to provide security and assist in attracting more investments.
For instance, in the mining sector, our company, Victory Crown Associates, is experiencing frustration in its effort to develop and mine at the Siringwaria Mining Site in Kaiama, in the Kaiama Local Government Area of Kwara State.
The Federal Ministry of Mining and Solid Mineral Development, through the Nigeria Mining Cadastre Office, awarded an exploration license to the company for the Siringwaria Mining Site. Apart from illegal miners who have been frustrating our efforts to take full possession of the site, lack of power is also a major challenge.
We expect the Federal Government to give attention to the provision of security for power infrastructure because of the central role power plays in the life of any nation seeking to advance technologically.
Government should also investigate where people who are selling used power facilities get their supplies from, in order to forestall vandalisation of power infrastructure. If vandals discover that the Federal Government is investigating their illegal activities, they may stop such acts. •Mr. Oladipo Bashir (Secretary, Victory Crown Associates)
We must stop playing politics with this very serious issue of national importance. It is the platform on which we can talk about any reasonable development in this country without discrimination because it is actually going to help to produce the level of economic growth we desire.
Government needs to revisit the privatisation exercise because it is obvious that most of our power assets were sold to individuals and groups who lack the capacity to deliver. The Federal Government needs to sit down with these people and re-negotiate if need be, because whatever they earlier agreed upon is not working. For now, the generation of power and distribution of the same are not at par.
For instance, we are being told that more power is being generated than the distribution companies have the capacity to distribute; government needs to invest massively in alternative sources of energy. •Mazi Emma Okoro (Abuja-based consultant and public affairs commentator)
Nigeria’s electricity industry is still performing poorly because those who invested in the country’s power assets lack the technical expertise, funds and passion to take their ventures to the next level. Many of the investors who invested in the successor companies of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria have very limited idea on how to efficiently run the electricity firms they acquired. This has created what I call energy poverty in Nigeria and it is one of the major factors that scare investors away from Nigeria.
Poor power supply is the major factor that makes investors to stay away from Nigeria, as many of them prefer to go to Asian countries where you have infrastructure and some level of expertise that you can’t get in this country. And why is our power sector this backward even after being privatised over three years ago? It is primarily because most of the investors in the sector who bought over the successor distribution and generation companies have no idea of how to run the business efficiently.
As to what can be done to salvage the situation, I will tell you that a lot of breakthroughs have been recorded in the power sector globally which the government, as well as operators in the Nigerian electricity space, should tap into.
Given the region’s vast fossil fuel reserves and the abundance of renewable energy sources, it has the potential to generate up to 11,000 gigawatts of electricity through a combination of solar power, wind energy, natural gas and hydroelectricity. Unlocking this potential is the proper domain of policy makers and investors interests in the private sector. The government must look at how to tap from all the available sources of power generation. •Prof. John Ifediora (Director, Council on African Security and Development)
The power situation in the country is bad. It is so because both government and those who bought the facilities of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria are not serious. Those who bought the PHCN facilities have not invested in the sector. They only acquired those facilities with the hope that they will just come into the sector and start reaping.
Apart for that, they are also defrauding Nigerian electricity consumers by not providing prepaid meters. I have had dealings with the Eko Electricity Distribution Company and the Benin Electricity Distribution Company.
The EKEDC is in charge of some areas in Lagos State, while BEDC is in charge of Edo, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti states. My experience with these two companies is that they are not interested in providing services, but only interested in making money. We have examined their records as they affect specific areas in Delta State and in some areas of Lagos, and I can confirm that they are defrauding Nigerians. A situation where you provide electricity cumulatively for three days in a month and send exorbitant bills to consumers amounts to fraud.
So, the minister in charge of the sector will need to give a time frame of not later than December 31, 2017 for these distribution companies to provide metres free of charge to consumers. All DISCOs must provide prepaid meters to consumers and it should not be later than December 31, 2017.