- Says electricity sector requires professionals versed in the industry
- Cabals are stalking sector
The endless breakdown of the country’s national electricity grid poses a significant concern among Nigerians, and stalks the productive sector, says Barth Nnaji, a former minister of power.
In this regard, Nnaji, who is the group chairman of Geometric Power, Aba, in Abia State, says Nigeria’s power sector requires professionals who clearly understand Nigeria’s electricity supply industry, to manage it.
Additionally, he identified diesel (automotive gas oil) suppliers and generator dealers have constituted themselves into a pernicious cabal that is sabotaging efforts for Nigerians to enjoy regular power supply.
Nnaji, speaking at a radio discussion in Umuahia, Abia State, recently, noted that power grid breakdown has caused countless economic losses.
“This is despite the federal government’s claim of spending N7 trillion as direct interventions in the power sector; even after privatising the electricity generation and distribution arms of the industry since November 2013. Diesel suppliers and generator sellers are other obstacles for those who are into power generation business. The (electricity) sector needs professionals, who understand the Nigeria electricity supply industry, to manage it,” the former power minister said.
Nigeria is a big user of generators on account of its enormous electric power need. The African Development Bank (AfDB) says 40 percent of Nigerians use generators to provide electricity to their households and commercial outfits including companies. They spend $14 billion annually on fuel and diesel to power these generating sets.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) says some 90 million Nigerians are not connected to, and cannot receive access to electricity from the Nigerian transmission grid. Despite abundant natural energy sources, Nigeria faces significant electricity supply challenges suffocating its industrial growth, limiting commercial undertakings from expanding and making expected profits, including the wellbeing of the people.
Additionally, the organised private sector (OPS) in the country says electricity expenses (that is the cost of providing electricity for industry and for self) constitutes about 40 percent of the total cost of production.
Nnaji painted a graphic picture of how dangerous the diesel suppliers can be. His experience when he was in government, somewhere in the country, some men cut down a 30KVA power line to stop electricity supply to thousands of users. “Unfortunately, the diesel supplying company sponsored the operation. Incidentally, the power cable fell on one of them, who later confessed to the crime.”