Despite various interventions by the Federal Government to improve power supply in the country, a recent World Bank report has revealed that annually, Nigeria’s economy still loses between N7 trillion and N10 trillion to epileptic power supply. It said the total sum represents 5-7per cent of the country’s GDP.
The report was released on June 16 by the World Bank under the Power Sector Recovery Programme to flag the new Nigeria Development Update (NDU).
In the report titled ‘Resilience through Reforms’, the World Bank stated that due to unreliable and insufficient electricity supply, businesses and wealthy homes depend mostly on generating sets.
It said the over 22 million gasoline generators in Nigeria power about 26 per cent of all households and 30 per cent of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) while their net capacity is eight times more than the national grid. These challenges, according to the report, is due to substandard infrastructure, thus stressing the urgent need to improve and expand the network to improve the quality of supply.
Also, it identifies operational inefficiencies in the system as the cause of the massive financial as well as economic losses. In view of this, the body stressed the need for a holistic approach that integrates comprehensive measures to address Nigeria’s power problems sustainably.
“Addressing problems of power sector offers Nigeria an opportunity to tackle long standing challenges and give the economy a boost,” it stated.
According to the report, for the FG to address the economic challenges bedeviling the country, it must take cognizance of the power sector.
The report partly read: “To address the economic challenges that have arisen from the oil price shock and COVID-19, in July 2020 the FG launched a N23 trillion ($5.9 billion) Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP). The NESP lays out an ambitious package of policy measures and programs to stimulate activity and create jobs through investments in agriculture, roads, renewables, and housing.
“But any economic recovery program will be severely challenged by minimal access to electricity, an insufficient power supply, and a financially unviable power sector.”
On the other hand, the World Bank also noted that increasing operational efficiency and improving infrastructure are essential for a transition to clean energy. The report noted that for the country to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, she would need to connect 500,000 to 800,000 households every year.
“Both grid-extension and off-grid solutions will be needed to provide timely quality services to unserved and underserved households and businesses, especially as the country recovers from the impact of the pandemic.”