Medium-Term Development Strategies for Power Sector

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The aim of a Medium Term Sector Strategy (MTSS) is to improve the connection between policy making, planning and medium-term budgeting, especially so as to facilitate better implementation of government’s policies, reports The Nation

The strategies should articulate medium term development goals and objectives against the background of the overall goals of high level national power policies, international power standards and the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Consequently, the ministry of power is expected to have medium term targets which fit into the overall goals and objectives of the power sector. It should work towards the ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ targets. The current aggregate level of 40% (urban=65%, rural=28%) energy access is unacceptable. There should be a conscious effort to achieve 75% (urban=90%, rural=60%) energy access by 2020 and to replace 50% of traditional firewood consumption for cooking by 2020 with improved clean cook stove technology. The ministry of power should work closely with the private sector to roll out Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to Nigerians at affordable cost. To ensure energy efficiency, lighting bulbs that are at least five times more efficient than incandescent lamps should be introduced to 20% of Nigerian households by 2020. For sectors that are high energy consuming, efficient energy technologies should be progressively introduced as well as other demand side management measures such as peak load management when possible. Energy audits should also become compulsory for public buildings and high energy consuming sectors.

There are some shortcomings the ministry of power needs to address if the sector’s medium term targets will be met.  One of such is the absence of collaboration between the tiers of government.  A lot of resources have been invested by various MDAs on renewable energy especially solar street lights and solar boreholes across the federation. However, the investments do not show coordination between the federal ministry of power, states, local governments and communities for the maintenance of the projects. These renewable energy projects usually become non-functional within months of completion and commissioning and no one has a clear mandate for its maintenance. There is usually no value for the resources invested. This questions the wisdom of having a Rural Electrification Agency domiciled in Abuja overseeing the responsibility of providing streetlights in rural communities across Nigeria. The Federal Ministry of Power, Rural Electrification Agency and indeed any other relevant federal agency needs to have a Memorandum of Understanding with the states and local governments for such low level projects. The MoU will ensure that the project is handed over to the local authorities upon completion. The local authorities will take over the recurrent, running and maintenance costs of these projects.

Another is the issue of poor Research and Development (R&D). Research and development votes in the power sector are usually for unspecified purposes and this leaves the sector with little home-grown contributions to the development of new goods and services for the power sector. Most of the materials used in the power sector are imported thereby increasing costs due to the declining value and volatility of the Nigerian currency. Research and development should be properly funded, demand driven and responsive to the needs of the power sector. Research institutes should be given grants based on performance.

A moratorium on brand new capital projects that are not related to existing ones has become necessary unless the new project is of utmost priority. Otherwise, resources should be spent on completing, equipping and rehabilitating already existing projects.
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