The perennial crisis in the Nigerian energy sector was again brought to the fore with the latest revelation that generator manufacturers and distributors brought into the country diesel generating sets worth over N10bn between 2014 and 2015.
This was revealed by the data on genset import and export trade by the United Nations Statistics Division, which also showed that the gensets ranging from 75 to 375 KVA, were imported to power factories, telecommunication towers, homes and offices.
According to the data, the figure is expected to hit $450 million by 2020, just as it also showed that Nigeria provides the second largest market for generators in Africa after Egypt.
Other big markets in Africa are Ethiopia, South Africa, Congo, Zimbabwe, Niger and Mozambique.
It was further revealed that the development was as a result of years of epileptic power supply in the country, a situation that seems to have worsened with the privatization of the power sector.
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In response to the development, the Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and industry, LCCI, Mr. Muda Yusuf, said importation of electricity generators was not the main problem but that the main problem is the fundamental shortcoming in the country’s energy policy.
According to him, power supply had degenerated drastically in recent months and is even worse than when the country had PHCN.
“This is not a good development for the Nigerian business environment, especially for business concerns that have to deal with high cost of production resulting from alternative source of energy.
“The situation had worsened since the official handover of the power infrastructure to the new private owners in November 2013. There are complaints across all sectors about high energy costs especially high expenditure on diesel. This continues to take its toll on the bottom line of investors in the economy as well as the welfare of citizens. There was apparently an underestimation of the challenges of reforming the power sector – labour issues, gas availability, transmission capacity, generation capacity, quality of assets, security of assets, manpower, technical capacity, financial capacity etc.”
He however called for government to lay emphasis on captive power plants and the decentralisation of
power provision by the private sector as a major way of addressing the nation’s power challenges.
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