Sunday Okobi and Oluchi Chibuzor
The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Professor James Momoh, has disclosed that the inability of the country to provide uninterrupted access to electricity to all citizens in line with the recommendation of the United Nation Advisory group on Energy and Climate Change has affected the economic opportunities for the poorest to escape poverty.
Momoh, stated this recently at the official lunch of Foluseke Abidemi Somolu Foundation at the University of Lagos, while delivering a lecture titled: ‘The Nigerian Power supply Question: Challenges and Solutions’ in Lagos.
Momoh said about 1.2 billion people or 17 per cent of the global population had no access to electricity, with 50 per cent of these countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This, he said was one of the reasons why it is impossible to provide adequate health services, schools, clean water, food security and industries to their people.
According to him, “The provision of uninterrupted power by developing countries to its citizens will reduce poverty, increase productivity and promote economic growth, which is the key recommendation by the United Nation Advisory group on Energy and climate change that countries like Nigeria should strive to provide universal access to electricity to all its citizens by 2030.
“Almost all the problems Nigeria faces today are linked to the unsustainable state of our public electricity supply and world commission on sustainable development (WCSD), which the UN authorised to assist third world countries achieve the MDGs, found sustainable electricity to be the missing link between developing countries and the MDGs.
“The power sector of almost every industrialised country has been positioned to correspondently expand in the wake of ever growing global reliance on electric power, while the power sector of a nation with over 190million people abjectly stuck and hovering around 4000MW.”
On the way forward, he reiterated the need to have a clear strategy and a define manpower required to carter for the 96 million people without access to electricity.
Momoh noted that, “with a national electrification rate of only 45 per cent with majority of the populace without any hope to get electricity in this decade, the need to come up with a dynamic strategy to bridge the energy gap in the country will impact all other interdependent and critical infrastructure networks.
“Trends in the world economies and increasingly national demands will put additional burdens on meeting the self-sufficiency and security goals and human made challenges facing the industry.”