Persistent National Grid Collapses Hinder Nigeria’s Economic Growth – Peter Obi

Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s candidate for the 2023 election, has raised alarm over Nigeria’s electricity grid’s frequent failures, which he says are impeding the country’s economic progress.

Despite almost two decades of reform attempts, Nigeria’s electrical supply business is at danger of collapse owing to regular and recurring system failures. These breakdowns are often triggered by avoidable events, like as fire breakouts at important transmission lines in big cities, which arise from a lack of vigilant care.

Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million and around 40 million small enterprises, has just 13,000 megawatts of installed capacity. The system provides only approximately 3,500mws of power to households and businesses, which may decrease to 2,500mw at times. This contrasts sharply with nations such as Egypt and South Africa, which have populations of around 112 million and 59.6 million people, respectively, and provide approximately 60,000mw and 58,000mw. The variation in energy wattage has a profound impact on human development and economic prosperity.

Experts contacted by Peter Obi attribute Nigeria’s power supply issue to two primary sectors: generation, transmission, and distribution. The generating industry confronts issues such as a lack of a consistent supply of gas owing to the government’s inability to create necessary gas infrastructure facilities, a low commercial availability of gas for electricity, and vandalism driven by young discontent.

For more than eight years, Nigeria has been unable to tackle the infrastructure constraints that limit gas delivery to power plants, despite billions of dollars spent by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to clear legacy gas bills.

On the transmission and distribution side, the last eight years have seen a failure to address network deterioration, resulting in poor coverage, ineffective coordination between the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and distribution companies (Discos), load rejection, and low public trust in tariff policy reform, all of which have discouraged private sector investments.

Peter Obi suggests that the Federal Government immediately form a technical task force of professionals free of political considerations to diagnose the sector’s crisis, address simple issues such as fire outbreaks that cause system failures, improve coordination and coherence between TCN and Discos, and ensure that operators fulfill their technical responsibilities.

These actions would significantly improve power availability in the short term while the government develops a comprehensive national electricity policy and an implementation roadmap that coordinates national and subnational electricity reform efforts to ensure rapid and widespread delivery of reliable, adequate, and affordable power.

Nigeria, with its rich resources, should not be a country of generators and darkness. Peter Obi is devoted to power as a key driver of economic progress in the New Nigeria.

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