The Electricity Hub (TEH), a leading energy solutions organization, has raised concerns that nearly 92 million Nigerians are yet to be connected to the national electricity grid.
They are urging the new administration, inaugurated today, to prioritize addressing this long-standing power deficiency through increased financing and political stability.
This appeal was made at TEH’s 82nd Power Dialogue in Abuja, where panellists highlighted the incoming administration’s urgent need for strategic planning to resolve the country’s power deficit.
Emphasizing the role of political stability in fostering sustainable economic development and attracting investment, the panel argued that reliable power access is a critical economic catalyst.
The experts, including Engr. Edu Okeke, Managing Director of Azura Power, and Ayo Ademilua, President of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, underlined the importance of proper planning to ensure a smooth transition for new leadership.
This will help the new leaders make rapid strides toward fulfilling Nigeria’s Vision 30:30:30, a target of achieving 30 gigawatts of power from an energy mix with 30 per cent renewables by 2030.
During the discussion, the panellists highlighted the World Bank’s 2022 “Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report,” revealing Nigeria has the highest global energy access deficit. Approximately 92 million Nigerians, or 45% of the population, lacked access to grid power in 2022.
The panel unanimously agreed on the necessity of finance to close the energy access gap and meet the country’s ambitious Vision 30:30:30. Engr. Abubakar Ali-Dapshima, Director of Renewable and Rural Power Access at the Federal Ministry of Power, emphasized the critical role of the Vision 30:30:30 framework, formulated in 2014, in promoting renewable energy.
Ali-Dapshima highlighted numerous government programs to enhance energy access and pointed to incentives designed to draw private sector collaboration in the power sector.
Meanwhile, Ademilua stressed the need for reliable data, beneficial policies for reaching remote and underserved areas, and a standardized monitoring framework for energy access projects to track progress.
Engr. Okeke underscored that a stable grid is essential but depends on Nigeria’s developing a compelling strategy to attract finance.
He noted that government efforts must focus on projects stimulating private-sector investment while highlighting that numerous investors have exited the country due to unfavourable policies. He emphasized that finance follows where it is welcome, with profitability, not charity, being the main objective of any investment.
He concluded, “Government policies are the challenges of the power sector. The public sector’s role is to establish structures, while the private sector’s role is to scrutinize the public sector policies.”
Electrifying Nigeria: A Call to Power Up
The revelation by The Electricity Hub that around 92 million Nigerians are disconnected from the national grid throws into stark relief a significant issue that the incoming administration must urgently address.
This power deficiency is not just about lighting homes or powering businesses; it fundamentally undermines Nigeria’s economic development and the well-being of its citizens.
Nigeria’s Vision 30:30:30 paints a promising picture for the future, but realizing it requires decisive and strategic actions from the government.
Among the key steps forward is to attract more financing for power projects, and this, in turn, necessitates political stability and investor-friendly policies as Engr. Edu Okeke rightly pointed out that finance will flow where it is welcomed and profitability is feasible.
However, the task at hand extends beyond financing and stability. As Mr Ayo Ademilua highlighted, understanding the served, unserved, and underserved regions requires validated and harmonized data.
Furthermore, we need favourable policies to extend power access to the last miles and underserved areas, capacity building, infrastructure development, and a standardized monitoring and reporting framework on energy access projects.
As Nigeria approaches this ambitious vision, collaboration between the public and private sectors will be pivotal.
This is a journey we must undertake together, and it begins with the incoming administration taking the reins and steering the country towards a brighter, more electrified future.
Did You Know?
- According to the World Bank, Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa, with a GDP of $448 billion in 2019.
- Nigeria is one of the world’s largest oil producers, but its power sector has traditionally been underdeveloped.
- Nigeria’s Vision 30:30:30 aims to achieve 30 gigawatts of power from an energy mix with 30 per cent renewables by 2030.
- Despite being rich in oil and gas resources, Nigeria faces substantial challenges in providing reliable electricity access to its citizens.
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