ByÂ Clara Nwachukwu
The failure of the Federal Government and the Power Holding Company, PHCN, to provide sustainable power to the people has pushed about 60 million Nigerians into generating their own power.
The cost of this self power generation through the fuelling of all manner of generating sets is put at a staggering N1.56 trillion ($13.35bn) annually.
This is aside from the N97.2bn the manufacturing sector also spends yearly to power their plants, with attendant high cost of production and equally high cost of goods and services.
Making the disclosure in Lagos on Thursday, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, noted that power challenges have contributed to frustrating Nigeriaâ€™s economic development.
Mallam Sanusi, who spoke at the August Conference on ‘Gas to Power: Prospects and Challengesâ€™ organized by the Nigerian Association of Energy Correspondents, NAEC, expressed concern that Nigeria ranks the least in per capita energy, even as energy development is key to rapid economic development.
â€œIncreased provision and use of energy services, is an integral part of economic development,â€ he said.
The CBN governor, represented by his Deputy Governor (Financial System Stability), Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, quoting the United States Central Intelligence Agency World Fact_Book reports, said, â€œon per capita electricity consumption in kilo_watt hours (kWh) for 2009, which ranks Nigeria 178th with 106.21 kWh per head, far behind South Africa (4,921.26), Libya (3,281.87), Iraq (1,377.75), Gabon (900.00), Ghana (283.65), Cameroon) (176.01) and Kenya (124.68).Â This is indeed very disturbing.â€
Furthermore, he said that other challenges such as â€œthe transmission and distribution networks which are poorly maintained and inefficiently operated making it difficult to move power from generation sites to consumption points. The low tariffs coupled with high level of losses in the system points to the fact that the sector is not financially viable.â€
He said that these very disturbing factors caused the Central Bankâ€™s recent intervention in the power sector to ensure that Nigerians get critical services from the energy sector.
Sanusi explained that the CBNâ€™s intervention â€œis derived from the desire to use monetary policy to fast_track economic growth and create jobs. In other words, to ensure that Nigeria has an electricity supply industry that can meet the needs of its citizens and power our economy into the 20 top economies of the world by the year 2020.â€