…Down from 2017 ranking after Yemen
…Global lender approved $1.25bn financing to support Nigeria reset power sector
…Businesses lose $29bn annually to power unavailability
Ben Eguzozie, in Port Harcourt
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and the continent’s biggest economy by GDP, has unenviably slipped into first-from-bottom in electricity-deficient countries index, according to World Bank recent survey.
The World Bank’s Power Sector Recovery Programme fact sheet showed that Nigeria had the largest number of people without access to electricity in the world.
The global lender said, “every 1 in 10 people without access to electricity now resides in Nigeria.”
In 2017, Nigeria ranked second after war-ravaged Yemen, out of 137 countries in the Spectator Index’s list of worst performing countries when it comes to electricity supply. The report had noted that the average power sent out by the electricity generating companies were abysmally low, making majority number of the population going without access to electricity.
The World Bank’s virtual dialogue with energy reporters revealed that businesses in Nigeria lose about $29 billion annually as a result of the country’s unreliable electricity.
Ashish Khanna, the bank’s practice manager in charge of West and Central Africa Energy, said: “businesses in Nigeria lose about $29 billion annually because of unreliable electricity. Nigerian utilities get paid for only a half of electricity they receive. For every N10 worth of electricity received by DisCos (distribution companies), about N2.60 is lost in poor distribution infrastructure and through power theft and another N3.40 is not being paid for by customers.”
Khanna said, six in 10 of registered electricity customers in Nigeria are not metered, and their electricity bills are not transparent and clear. This contributes to resistance to pay electricity bills.
The global lender said, only 51 per cent of Nigeria’s installed electricity capacity was available for generation, as an average Nigerian consumed four times less energy than his/her counterpart in a typical lower middle-income country.
The World Bank report said that every Nigerian paid less for electricity than what it costs to supply electricity to them; adding that for years till date, the government was paying the difference, because the government wanted to help poor Nigerian families to pay their bills.
“Richer families use more electricity; so, a big chunk of government support ends up going to those who do not really need help with paying bills,” the report stated.
It disclosed further that between June 2020 and February 2021, the Board of the World Bank approved $1.25 billion financing to support the Nigerian government in its efforts to reset the power sector.