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
A new study provides additional evidence that pollution may affect our cardiovascular health.
Studies have linked air pollution with the risk of developing a range of conditions, from neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s to diabetes and atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries.
For instance, early last month, Medical News Today reported on a study by researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions in New York, which linked long-term exposure to air pollution with the risk of atherosclerosis in six cities across the United States.
Now, the same lead author, Meng Wang, has carried out similar research in China, making this new study the first to examine pollution and coronary artery calcification among Chinese adults.
Wang and team set out to examine whether “air pollution and proximity to traffic” correlate with coronary artery calcium score, a key marker of atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis refers to the buildup of plaque inside the artery walls, which, over time, may lead to serious cardiovascular conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart attacks.
Studying air pollution and artery health
Wang and colleagues examined data on 8,867 Chinese people aged between 25 and 92 years. The participants all had suspected coronary heart disease, and the team recruited them in 2015–2017.
The researchers assessed the coronary artery calcium and coronary heart disease score of each participant and excluded anyone who had had a myocardial infarction, stenting procedure, or coronary artery bypass surgery in the past. They also excluded those for whom the data on risk factors and exposure to pollution were insufficient.
Wang and team estimated the annual levels of pollution at the participants’ residences by calculating their nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and fine particulate matter levels using a standard geostatistical prediction model.
In this case, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) describes particles with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometers that are very easy to inhale.
Particulate matter, or particle pollution, refers to “a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets,” including “dust, dirt, soot, or smoke,” that can be present in the air and that a person cannot see with the naked eye.
In the new study, the researchers also estimated the participants’ proximity to traffic, looking at the distance of their residences from nearby roads.
Pollution may raise heart disease death risk
The research revealed that for each nitrogen dioxide increase of 20 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3), the risk of a high coronary artery calcium score rose by 24.5%.
Additionally, for each increase of 30 μg/m3 of PM2.5 that the participants had exposure to in their apartments, there was an increase of 27.2% in the coronary artery calcium score.
“This finding should contribute to an understanding of air pollutant effects worldwide, providing both much-needed, locally generated data and supportive evidence to inform the air pollution standard-setting process on a global scale,” comments Wang.
“This study may provide evidence that coronary atherosclerosis is a pathological pathway through which air pollution exposure increases risk of death from coronary heart disease.”
The lead author goes on to explain: “Atherosclerosis is a lifelong process. As such, the effects of air pollution exposure on atherosclerosis are likely to be chronic.”
“Since more than 40% of all deaths are attributable to cardiovascular disease, the potential contribution of air pollutants to cardiovascular disease in China is very large,” says the researcher, suggesting that “the current air pollution standard may need to be reevaluated.”