*Insists poor power supply, not behind stunted economy
04 February 2018, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has decried what he termed the habit by some analysts of comparing power supply in Nigeria with what obtains in other countries, noting that Nigeria is a great country which should not be compared to other countries.
Fashola, who made this statement while answering questions at a workshop on the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP), in Abuja, said people needed to understand power dynamics before making statements.
According to him, “When people say Germany is exporting power, your country is exporting power too. To Niger, to the Republic of Benin, to Togo and we are selling gas to the West African region. Stop putting yourself down, we are a great country. We have challenges let us go and deal with them.”
He added that “All of this South Africa has this doesn’t follow just that way. Rwanda as at December 2016 had 208MW, the whole country; barely half of what Abuja Disco uses.
“Niger is running on 80MW, Republic of Togo 200MW less than Abuja, Ghana is about 3,000MW installed capacity and they are not producing all of that; Lagos alone is getting 1200MW, one state, half of another country. So we must understand the dynamics of electricity use.
“Again, if you read the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and you read the Power Sector Recovery Programme, when they tell you there are no plans to solve these problems, tell them it is a lie, that they don’t know what they are saying and that there are action points here to deal with the problems.”
The minister also faulted the experts’ opinion that the sluggish growth of the economy is directed linked to the inefficient supply of electricity in the country.
He noted that unlike what many experts would have Nigerians believe, the inefficient power supply is not what is making the economy not to grow, stressing that Nigeria recorded 7 percent annual growth rate in 2013 and 2014 when it was generating less electricity than it does currently.
“We have heard our so-called experts say that power is why the economy of Nigeria is not growing, it is not true, it is not factual and it is not correct. At the time when we had less power in 2013, and 2014, the economy of this country was growing at 7 percent per annum. We had less power than we have now but the economy was growing. So that is not the correct statement to make.
“It is not a correct statement at all. But power will clearly contribute to growth but power is not the reason the economy is not growing. That growth was fueled by oil. We sold a lot of oil and economy grew,” the minister explained.
He posited that there are nations who have not solved their power problems yet but have industrialised faster than Nigeria.
Fashola also urged workers in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) to ensure that they read the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act of 2005, stressing that a bulk of the workers are ignorant of what the EPSR Act is all about.