Living Without Electricity

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Chinedu Nebo, Minister of Power

A report published by the International Centre for Energy and Environment Development reveals that more than 100 million Nigerians are not connected to the power grid and therefore have no access to electricity

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Jul. 14, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

LACK of electricity supply is one of the biggest challenges facing Nigeria over the years. This situation has invariably affected public service delivery in the country. According to a report by the International Centre for Energy and Environment Development, ICEED, there are more than 100 million Nigerians who are not even connected to the power grid let alone experience irregular power supply.

Ewa Eleri, director, International Centre for Energy and Environment Development, revealed the disturbing data during a one-day workshop on renewable energy, organised by Winrock International in Abuja. The event, held under the theme ‘Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project,’ provided a platform for stakeholders in the power sector to call for an improved policy that would encourage the development and marketing of renewable energy in Nigeria.

Eleri said only about 18 percent of the Nigerian population had access to power. He also shared the view of other stakeholders on renewable energy, stressing that it was designed to actualise the government’s 75 percent connection target by 2020. He regretted that unlike Kenya and South Africa, where government policies had promoted the development of renewable energy, Nigeria had yet to put in place policies that would work towards the actualisation of its 75 percent target on the use of renewable energy.

Pauling
Pauling

According to him, the sector needs policies that will create players who can promote renewable energy. Segun Adaju, a representative of Winrock International, who gave an overview of the project, said that apart from providing technical support to stakeholders, it (the project) would also benefit the agricultural sector, banks as well as provide alternative sources for the fight against HIV AIDS.

Adaju also urged the banks to key into the project by doing business with the clean energy sector. “With our 75 percent target for the use of renewable energy in Nigeria, a well improved government policy would be required to actualise this project. There is a need to have policies that would help to develop the sector and promote the efforts of renewable energy in the country as it is done in countries like Kenya and South Africa where duties on technology has been abolished,” he said.

Sharon Pauling, director of economic growth, United States Agency for International Development, who declared the workshop open, said USAID’s renewable energy project would, among other benefits, facilitate the development and financing of the project, as well as promote energy efficiency market.

According to her, it would also enhance the capacity of key stakeholders, including financial institutions and universities. Pauling noted that Winrock would, through the project, provide technical assistance that would contribute to its broader goal of developing renewable energy in the Nigerian market.

Aminu Takuna, representative of Nigeria Independent Power Company, NIPC, said it was regrettable that many Nigerian banks were reluctant in financing renewable energy projects. He said that there was an ongoing policy reform in the renewable energy sector and that  the NIPC would soon forward it to the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has said that eighty-one million Nigerians lack access to electricity. According to World Bank’s data on access to electricity across countries of the world, only 48 percent of Nigerians had access to electricity between 2009 and 2013, ranking it among the lowest in the world. Other countries with lower percentages are Sudan with 29 percent, Tanzania (26.5 percent); Uganda (14.6 percent); Zimbabwe (37 percent); Yemen (39.9 percent); and Zambia with 22 percent.

However, few developing countries have much more higher percentages of access to electricity. Some of them are Philippines (70.2 percent), Pakistan (68.6 percent), Panama (88.2 percent) Nicaragua (77.7 percent) and Nepal (76.3 percent).

Singapore has 100 percent access to electricity. On the way to achieving one hundred percent access are countries like Morocco (98.9 percent), Mauritius (99.4 percent), Malaysia (99.5 percent) and Libya (99.8 percent). The World Bank states that over 1.4 billion people worldwide have no access to electricity with Nigeria’s 48 percent representing about 81 million people out of that number.

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