This Day (Lagos)

22 January 2013

Nigeria: Prioritise Power Supply in 2013, NGO Tells Jonathan

To overcome the rising insecurity and graduate unemployment challenge confronting the nation, a non-governmental organisation, Good Governance Initiative (GGI), has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to make the provision of adequate power supply his priority in 2013.

GGI said epileptic power supply has posed incalculable hardship to Nigerians as Nigeria has become a dumping ground for all manner of sub-standard generating sets, apart from being one of the highest importers of generating sets in the world to the tone of N17.9 billion annually.

According to the NGO, due to lack of electricity, most businesses have to rely on generators, which are very expensive to run, adding that the unfortunate development has forced many companies to close down because they could no longer remain competitive.

President of GGI, Mr. Festus Mbisiogu, said at the weekend in his new message to the President, pointing out that 70 per cent of the problems facing the country could be effectively solved through efficient power supply.

He revealed that Nigerian manufacturers, small scale businesses and families spend an average of N3.504.800 trillion yearly to power their generating sets with diesel and petrol due to unstable supply of electricity.

Mbisiogu, a Nigerian business mogul based in China however commended President Jonathan for the slight improvement witnessed in the sector in the last one year as it has gradually moved from 3000mw in 2011 to 4500mw in 2012.

He disclosed that statistics from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) showed that it spends about N800 billion to power its industrial generating sets to remain afloat while other small scale private businesses, banks and traders in various markets across the country spend over N2 trillion fueling their generators to have power.

He explained: "In the banking sector, each branch spend over N4 million on diesel in a month, multiply it by the number of branches in Nigeria. An average family man spends over 60,000 in a month on fuel, apart from the maintenance. Statistics show that every week, 5 to 10 people die as result of smoke from generator, life expectancy in china is 75yrs while Nigeria is 45 because our leaving standard is very poor."

Narrating his personal experience in Nigeria as an industrialist which according to was at variance with his experience in China, Mbisiogu said: "To keep my Shanghai Engineering Construction Works and Industry Limited working effectively in Nigeria, I have to spend N30 million on generator alone which consumes over N2 million diesel every month, apart from its maintenance cost.

"I have never experienced such in many years I have been operating same business and others businesses in China because China recognises that power remains the key driver of the economy. How could China have had over 30,000 robust manufacturers, how could every family have had a business in its compound if their experience was like that of Nigeria?"

Mbisiogu who is also the CEO, Blue Diamond Logistic, lamented that Brazil with a population of 201 million people, generates 100,000 megawatts, South Africa generates 40,000mw for a population of 50 million people while Nigerian is still generating below 5000mw for a population of over 160 million.

On security, Mbisiogu advised the President to deploy CCTV camera in all sensitive areas of the country to tackle the menace of insecurity, but however reminded him that without steady power this CCTV camera will not function effectively.

He urged President Jonathan to double his effort and ensure steady power supply all through 2013, because with steady power, it will attract foreign investors and Nigerians will witness massive employment in various sectors of the economy.

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