•Says energy poverty, bane of economy Growth

Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

An Energy Expert and Director, Council on African Security And Development (CASADE), Prof. John Ifediora, has decried the dearth of infrastructure in energy sector as the major problem affecting power supply. He also said that, given Nigeria’s vast fossil fuel reserves, all it needs was a national will to solve the problem and the dedication of efforts by the policy makers.
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Speaking on behalf of the council at a briefing in Abuja, to announce CASADE forthcoming energy summit, Ifediora, identified energy poverty as the bane of Nigeria’s economy growth.

According to him, “You cannot drive the economy without any meaningful steady state of electricity and there can’t be steady power supply without adequate infrastructure. No economy has ever developed without steady state of power supply. And, if you don’t manufacture goods, if you don’t industrialised, you cannot develop.”

The Don asserted: “Once we get it right in power supply, once we solve our energy problem, Nigeria will rise. All we need is the right equipment from abroad, get smart grid, energy meters, the techical-know-how and, as the largest market for electricity consumption in the world, the right investors will come in because, we have the population.”

He stated that experts in the Nigerian electricity industry, were performing poorly because, those who invested in the power sector lacked the technical know-how to handle the hurdles adding rivalry in the sector was a major bane for its growth.

“Poor power supply is the major reason why investors shy away from Nigeria to other countries of the world, as many of them prefer going to places where you have infrastructure and some level of expertise that you can’t get here in Nigeria.

“Our power sector has been backward primarily because, most of the investors who bought over the successor distribution and generation companies have no ideas of how to run the business effectively. Those who invested in old technology, see those in renewal energy companies as rivals. All they need is to work hand-in-hand.”

“If you don’t have security and development, investors won’t come in. Investors need conducive environment for their investment.”

Ifediora, a Professor at the University of Winconsin, United States of America, stated that given the country’s vast fossil fuel reserves and the abundance of renewable energy sources, it has potential to generate up to 11,000 gigawatts of electricity through a combination of solar power, wind energy, natural gas and hydroelectricity.

He however lamented the high tarrifs currently being served by the electricity distribution companies, adding, the system should be liberalised by the federal government.

“I think for over 56 years after independence, we still haven’t gotten it right in every facet as a country. Look, incoming elected public officials should state categorically what they intend doing when voted in because, if we can get it right in, the four pillars of development, which are; power supply, road infrastructure, banking system and communication, we would have gotten it right in everything,” Ifediora added.