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Inconsistence policy: The reason for Nigeria’s power crisis – UNIDO

UNIDO’s Yumkella (left)

UNIDO’s Yumkella (left)

DIRECTOR-GENERAL, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Dr Kandeh Yumkella, has blamed crises in Nigeria’s power sector on inconsistent policy by previous administrations. Speaking yesterday at the meeting with donor agencies and stakeholders in the power sector in preparation for the lunch of Energy For All Initiative in Abuja, he noted that while the current administration’s efforts at addressing challenges of the power sector was yielding results, politicians needed to know that improving power generation cannot be done with “quick-fixes.”

Yumkella described Nigerian government’s attitude to power problem as ad-hoc policy without clear-cut strategy on how to provide lasting solutions to the problem. “When power supply goes off, we get the generator. We never sat down to ask where we want the nation to be in the next 20 to 25 years, how fast we want it to grow, how much jobs we want to create and what sectors of the economy we need to develop. “Instead of putting the generators on, you would have built the hydropower plant since Nigeria has a lot of water resources”, he said.

He regretted that most hydropower project embarked by the country during his 12-year stay in Nigeria, were abandoned while funds allocated for the projects were not accounted for. “We surveyed the water basins and started some hydro projects, they were never completed. Some were about 90 per cent completed but never turned on. Those dams could be used for irrigation and water supply in cities. So, you have to link energy access with the ambition of governors to transform their states. We also need to convince the politicians that energy transformation is not a quick fix. It is a long-term strategy of 20 to 30 years.”

The UNIDO said although Nigeria is blessed with necessary resources needed for uninterrupted power supply, gas flaring, lack of accountability and inconsistent policy remained some of the factors militating against accessible power supply.

According to him, “we need to stop flaring gas. I did a workshop in this country in 2001 on zero flaring of gas but it was not implemented, that gas could be converted to energy and can be piped into homes so that women and children don’t die from using charcoal. They can do downstream processing for methanol and other products that create jobs and wealth.”

Speaking on the recent increase on electricity tariff, Yumkella stated that to ensure reliable power supply, Nigerians should be ready to make sacrifices. “We should also know that to reform the energy sector, Nigerians need to pay and we know Nigerians are ready to pay if they can be assured of reliable supply.

“So, it is chicken and the egg, if you don’t pay, investors don’t come in but if we pay, we want reliable service. That is the dialogue we want to start. The conference is the beginning of dialogue, a dialogue of 20 years. “Our goal is to create awareness of the initiative within Nigeria. It is a global initiative that has three goals – achieving universal access to energy by 2030, double the rate of improvement of energy efficiency by 2030 and to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030.

“Those are the global goals. We are lunching it in Nigeria because the government is determined to achieve this goal earlier than 2030 and so, this forum will give the government an opportunity to present the country’s energy vision for up to the period 2030 or 2050.”

From: The Guardian