Nigerian government rejects World Bank report on electricity supply in Nigeria

THE Nigerian government has rejected the recent World Bank report on electricity supply in the country.

World Bank’s Practice Manager West and Central Africa Energy Ashish Khanna, while presenting the ‘Power Sector Recovery Programme Fact Sheet’ during a virtual meeting with journalists last week had said that Nigeria’s power sector had not kept up with demand or provided reliable supply to existing customers, making businesses in the country lose about $29 billion annually due to unreliable electricity.

The bank said one in 10 people without access to electricity now lived in Nigeria with 78 per cent of power consumers in the country getting fewer than 12 hours of daily supply.

Reacting, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Infrastructure Ahmad Zakari said it was inaccurate for the World Bank to make such unsubstantiated claims.

“It is inaccurate to make a blanket statement that 78 per cent of Nigerians have less than 12 hours daily access. The data from NERC is that 55 per cent of citizens connected to the grid are in tariff bands D and E which are less than 12 hours supply,” Zakari said.

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“Those citizens are being fully subsidised to pre-September 2020 tariffs until Discos are able to improve supply.

“There is an N120bn CAPEX (capital expenditure) fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for Discos to improve infrastructure for these tariff classes similar to the metering programme that is ongoing.”

Zakari also dismissed a claim by the bank that 58 per cent of electricity consumers in the country did not have meters to measure electricity use, dismissing the data as unverifiable.

“It is unclear who did this survey and what the timeframe is. All citizens that have got free meters report they are happy about the reform trajectory,” he said.

“To date, more than 600,000 meters have been delivered to DisCos out of the one million in phase 0 with installation ongoing. Meters are sourced locally and are creating jobs in installation and manufacturing/assembly.”

“All consumers have been communicated their bands and bands are published during billing. It is inconceivable that anyone would imply that 4 out of 5 Nigerians are not intelligent enough to understand tariff classes and what they are paying for.”

He added that his office had a good working relationship with the bank but metrics around the Nigerian power sector should come from the Ministry of Power, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) also regularly published intervention data.



    The Facts

    Nigeria generates around 12,522 megawatts (MW) of electricity but distributes about 4,000MW.  This means one megawatt is to 50,000 population. On the other hand, Ghana generates 4,000MW and distributes 2,400MW, according to the USAID. This is one MW to 12,675 population. However,  while “Nigeria’s new gas-fired capacity is unused because of gas supply problems, Ghana has not been able to absorb all of its new installed capacity,” according to Neil Ford of African Business.

    Manufacturers and businesses in Nigeria are hard hit with energy problems. Many manufacturers generate their own power, ignoring electricity distribution companies (DisCos).  They self-generate 13,233 MW, according to a survey undertaken by an Economics Professor at the University of Ibadan Adeola Adenikinju, which was funded by the European Union and the government of Germany.

    “Average daily power outage has constantly averaged four times per day,” the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) said on its 2020 Second Half Economic Review.

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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