Energy experts are calling on government to invest heavily in the energy sector in other to grow the nation’s economy that is in recession.
The call was made at a conference in Abuja, the nation’s capital, held to mark the 2016 World Energy Day. Talks at the conference were focused on the theme, “Sustainable and Affordable Energy and the Challenges for Nigeria”.
The experts attributed the poor economic development in most African countries, including Nigeria, to the lack of efficient electricity supply.
National Energy Policies Implementation
Apart from asking the government to invest in the sector, they also want full implementation of existing national energy policies.
They believe that the policies would make access to energy sustainable and affordable.
The President of the International Association for Energy Economics, Mr Wumi Iledare, told the gathering that ‘a nation connected to light is a nation that is economically buoyant’.
“A lot of people could have easily become a barber, if they could just have light to open a barber or hair dressing shop.
“In the United States, small businesses dominate the economy,” Mr Iledare pointed out.
Access to affordable energy, including fuel and electricity, remains a major priority to many Nigerians.
It also informs the reasons successive governments have invested huge sums of money to develop the sector in recent past.
The 2016 appropriation bill earmarked over 400 billion Naira to the Ministry of Power Works and Housing, an allocation many say is an improvement over the past.
In spite of such investments in the past, access to efficient electricity supply in Nigeria still remains work in progress.
A representative from the Energy Commission of Nigeria who is the Director of Nuclear Science and Technology, Malah Umar, argued that there was enough policies to make energy accessible in Nigeria.
He, however, decried the lack of political will to implement those policies.
Meanwhile, the Acting General Manager, Resource and Development at the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Yusuf Abdussalam, explained some issues surrounding electricity affordability.
“The cost of electricity in Abuja could have been may be 31 to 32 Naira per kilowatt, but affordability has been built into the tariff system to see that those consuming less electricity can pay as low as 23 Naira per kilowatt while those that consume more will pay more,” Mr Abdussalam stated.
Nigeria’s electricity generation has continued to revolve around 3,000 and 5,000 megawatts even though experts say the country needs a minimum of 20, 000 megawatts of electricity to drive the economy.