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FG: Over 100 Million Nigerians Without Access To Reliable Electricity, 70% Of Power Consumed By Households

The president’s SA on Energy said the unreliable power supply has affected productivity of commercial and industrial sectors.

The federal government on Friday admitted that despite all its efforts, including sinking over N5 trillion into electricity subsidies in the last few years, over 100 million Nigerians still do not have access to reliable power supply.

Speaking on the last day of the Nigeria International Energy Summit (NIES) in Abuja, the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Energy, Olu Verhejen, said that Nigeria’s macroeconomic difficulties and unreliable power supply have severely impacted the productivity of the commercial and industrial sectors.

“Despite all the interventions and subsidies, over 100 million Nigerians still do not have access to consistent and affordable electricity. This lack of access directly impacts their ability to achieve meaningful income growth as a lack of reliable electricity limits productivity and restricts economic expansion.

“Between the number of people living in poverty and those without access to electricity in Nigeria, is not accidental. Clearly the link between electricity consumption and economic development is well established across different countries in different income strata,” she argued.

Represented by the Team Lead on Power in her office, Eriye Onagoruwa, Verheijen, while comparing several nations, stated that while South Africa has 23,392 kilowatt hour annually, Nigeria has the least, with 2,548 kilowatt hour annually, translating to around 212 kilowatt per month.

She noted that businesses that operate in environments like Nigeria, continue to struggle with high operational costs and lower productivity, making them less competitive, both globally and locally.

This, she said, in turn clearly affects job creation and limits income growth opportunities.

“Nigeria’s macroeconomic difficulties and unreliable power supply have severely impacted the productivity of the commercial and industrial sectors. Over the years this has resulted in low productive use of electricity.

“This situation has led to a scenario where a disproportionate amount of the available power is consumed by the residential sector, which accounts for more than 70 percent of final electricity consumption.

“Furthermore, over 70 percent of Nigerians live below the middle income international line of poverty, which is set at about $3.20 per day, rendering them unable to afford electricity access,” she noted.

However, she explained that President Bola Tinubu was addressing the foundational problems that when resolved will help to increase energy access to Nigerians.

She said a multi-agency team involving the ministry of finance, ministry of budget and planning, the ministry of power and the office of the special adviser on energy is actively pursuing reforms and initiatives aimed at expanding access to electricity and enhancing its productive use.

Secondly, she stated that her office was playing an important role in providing secretarial and coordination support for the presidential metering initiative.

”One of the ambitious goals of the presidential metering initiative is to reduce the aggregate technical commercial and collection losses, which is around about 47 percent to globally accepted standards of between 12 percent to 15 percent,” she explained.

On his part, the Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, said it was a collective responsibility to address the issue of power as it has far reaching implications for poverty alleviation, healthcare, education, and overall improvements in the quality of life, including reduction in unemployment rates in Nigeria.

“So, it is no coincidence that most of the world acclaimed developed nations focus on provision of adequate power before they can achieve the kind of feats in industrial developments. A country like South Korea, which is just about 49 million people, generates a 130, 000mw of power,” he said.

Adelabu noted that with the 700mw Zungeru Hydropower set to join the grid in the next two weeks and work ongoing to complete evacuation infrastructure for the 40mw Kashimbilla Hydro, power supply through the grid would steadily improve in the next few months.

He said the government was also working to put in place gas supply contracts for the power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP) managed by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC).

Also, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, assured participants that the federal government would work to ensure that the head office of the planned Africa Energy Bank (AEB) is located in Nigeria.

Akume noted that the theme of the summit: “Navigating the New Energy World Order: Security, Transition, and Finance” underscored the complexities and challenges that Nigeria faces in the dynamic landscape of the global energy sector.

“This theme is not just a reflection of our current realities but a call action for all stakeholders to collaboratively address the crucial issues that lie at the intersection of energy security, transition, and financial sustainability,” he remarked.

Earlier in his closing speech which he delivered on behalf of the Minister of State Petroleum Resource (Oil) Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Agbo Ella, stated that the summit had been an incredible journey of knowledge sharing, collaboration and foresight.

He promised to crystallise the outcome of the summit in a comprehensive report that will be shared between the delegates and the federal government.

The Chief Executive Officer, Brevity Anderson, Dr. James Shindi, in his comments, noted that about 350 people put the event together.

Emmanuel Addeh 

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