The Nigerian economy has long been hoped to fulfill its potentials and be amongst the top economies of the world. This dream has been conceived since 1960, when we gained independence and to buttress this, she was touted as the giant of Africa. However, since all these predictions were made, Nigeria has not attained her potentials. This then causes one to ask, why has this happened? Though manifold., one of the major causes of Nigeria’s stunted growth is erratic power supply and this shall be the major focus of our discourse.
Erratic power supply has become a slogan in Nigeria. Although, successive governments have continually churned out a lot of propaganda giving flimsy reasons why the power supply in Nigeria has been erratic and promising that it would improve, there hasn’t been substantial improvement. Take the example of a country like Ghana who were also battling with the issue of erratic power supply. Though small in size, they found where the problem was and nipped it in the bud. Today, a country that Nigeria used to give megawatts to, now has twenty-four hours power supply.
What has caused this and what are its effects on the Nigerian economy?
First, the insincerity of government. Though unfortunate successive governments in Nigeria have continually made feeble attempts to rectify the power supply problem. One of such attempts was the privatization of the power sector in which the power Holding company of Nigeria was privatized and replaced by private distribution companies (DISCOs) and Generating Companies (GENCOs). Though this idea seemed noble, it was later discovered that the companies that paraded themselves as distribution companies were in fact owned by cabals in government. Not only that, one would imagine that by virtue of the fact that the power sector had been privatized, power consumption bills would be charged according to the power consumed per time. Unfortunately, in some places, reverse is the case as they are still been given estimated and exorbitant fees regardless of the fact that they do not have power supply regularly. In some places, particularly Amuloko in Ibadan, Nigeria, they haven’t had power supply for ten years and counting, yet they still get power consumption bills. For power unused too?
When seeking to kill a plant completely, the best place to go is the root. This is what the Nigerian government has failed to do, as a country that claims that she wants to have twenty-hours still imports generators every day. I stand to ask; will the generators quench the power deficit? Can an average Nigerian, who according to latest studies cannot afford one dollar per day afford this? Certainly not
While the government shares the bulk of the blame, it would also be unfair not to note that there are some people who have been sabotaging the efforts of the government. Example of these are news of electricity cables being stolen, transformers being carted away, among other things. The issue of sabotage is saddening as it appears as a situation of going from frying pan to fire.
What effect does this have on the Nigerian economy? First and most important is that erratic power supply discourages investors from investing in the economy. A classic example of this is Unilever, who moved a major part of the company to Ghana because of Nigeria’s erratic power supply which caused their cost of production to increase by virtue of the purchase of diesel every time. Other companies have also had to move away from Nigeria because of her erratic power supply. If this continues this way, it will make investors skeptical about investing in Nigeria and it is only a matter of time before those who are here move away because of erratic power supply. This will greatly affect he economy as it will paint us as a country that is not attractive to investors
In addition, erratic power supply has the power to make Nigerians unemployed. You would ask why? Take for example welders. They require close to twenty-four hours power supply to function optimally. When there is erratic power supply, a lot of them abandon this job and begin to either do commercial motorcycle business or involve in nefarious activities. By implication, the economy will have a downturn when these people are not attended to.
It is therefore important to make sure that we optimize power supply to move Nigeria forward