03 January 2015, Lagos – Last year, 2014, has become another 365 days of failed promises of the Federal Government as far as the power sector is concerned.
Even though the year was one in which Nigerians expected a rapid improvement in the power problems of the country as a result of the privatisation which was supposed to be a pivot of the reforms in the sector, it seemed the situation only took a turn for the worse.
It will be recalled that President Goodluck Jonathan made a bold promise of rapid improvement in August 2010, few months after taking over from the then President, Umaru Yar’Adua, when he launched the Road Map for Power Sector Reform.
“In the medium term (up to December 2013), we can expect a modest increase in the total power generation capacity of the existing Power Holding Company of Nigeria power stations (which would bring the total to just under 4,500MW); the addition of 4,775 MW from the NIPP plants; and a substantial (3,300 MW) increase in power generation capacity from IPPs all by December 2013. As such, the medium term expectation is that 14,000 MW of power generation capacity will be available by December 2013,” a compendium of the roadmap states.
The President also said in his Transformation Agenda, “For the first time since 1960, the country has a comprehensive and realistic plan for resolving Nigeria’s electric power crisis, identifying requirements to achieve stable power supply in the entire value chain from gas to generation, to transmission and distribution.
“By the end of 2014, over 6,000MW would have been generated by Independent Power Producers such as Dangote, Lafarge, Notore, Supertek, Geometric Power, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Total, Hudson Power, Agip, Negris and Mabon Electric.”
However, instead of this, the worsening of the power situation in 2014 has been unprecedented.
According to the third quarter economic report of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria lost 350 megawatts per hour of generated electricity during the period bringing down the earlier 3250MW of electricity being generated to 2,900MW.
The estimated average electricity generation was said to have plummeted by 10.8 per cent, compared with the level attained in the second quarter of 2014.The country’s power generation fell from about 4,600MW, which was attained earlier in November, to about 3,600MW.
The decline in electricity consumption was attributed to the fall in power generation, transmission and distribution.
This record of unfulfilled promises has continued to rile consumers who feel that the government has simply not done enough.
A consumer, Mr. Sunday Umah, wrote on PUNCH’s website, “Total expenses on power sector since 1999 now stands at $154bn. This is massive and extremely higher than the £5bn pounds the UK power firm expended in 2010 to generate extra 30,000MW.
“Nigeria will never attain its goals until we have a very responsible government who will truly fight corruption and diversify our economy. If the government continues to be run in the present way, we stand no chance to survive, as we are on the way to joining the league of Zimbabweans who will carry cash in wheel barrow to purchase a loaf of bread.”
More readers who commented on PUNCH’s website on the power situation in the country, expressed the same pessimism about the government’s sincerity.
“Excuses, excuses and more excuses. If Nigeria received a penny for each of the excuses given for why things don’t work, it will have enough cash to offset the shortfall in the crude oil price slump. We are headed nowhere,” a reader, Ben, said.
– Gbenro Adeoye and Kunle Falayi, The Punch