By Chioma Obinna
…N17.9bn on importation of generators
Nigerian manufacturers, small scale businesses and families spend an average of N3.5 trillion yearly to power their generating sets with diesel and petrol due to unstable supply of electricity.
Mr. Festus Mbisiogu, President of Good Governance Initiative, GGI, a Non-Governmental Organisation, who stated this, pointed out that 70 percent of the problems facing the country could be effectively solved through effective power supply.
He noted that epileptic power supply has posed incalculable hardship to Nigerians, adding that Nigeria has become a dumping ground for all manner of sub-standard generating sets, apart from being one of the highest importers of generating sets in the world to the tune of N17.9 billion annually.
According to him, due to lack of electricity, most businesses have to rely on generators, which are very expensive to run, adding that the unfortunate development has forced many companies to close down because they could no longer remain competitive.
Mbisiogu, a Nigerian businessman based in China, however, commended President Goodluck Jonathan for the slight improvement witnessed in the sector in the last one year as it has gradually moved from 3000 megawatt in 2011 to 4500 megawatt in 2012.
The GGI president disclosed that statistics from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) showed that it spends about N800 billion to power its industrial generating sets to remain afloat, while other small scale private businesses, banks and traders in various markets across the country spend over N2 trillion fuelling their generators to have power.
“In the banking sector, each branch spends over N4 million on diesels in a month, multiply it by the number of branches in Nigeria. An average family man spends over 60,000 in a month on fuel, apart from the maintenance. Statistics show that every week, 5 to 10 people die as result of smoke from generator. Life expectancy in china is 75 years while in Nigeria it is 45 years because our leaving standard is very poor,” he said.
Narrating his personal experience in Nigeria as an industrialist which according to him was at variance with his experience in China, Mbisiogu said: “To keep my Shanghai Engineering Construction Works and Industry Limited working effectively in Nigeria, I have to spend N30 million on generators alone which consume over N2 million worth of diesel every month, apart from its maintenance cost.
“I have never experienced such in many years I have been operating same business and other businesses in China because China recognizes that power remains the key driver of the economy. How could China have had over 30,000 robust manufacturers, and how could every family have had a business in its compound if their experience were like that of Nigerians?”