The Nigerian Association of Energy Economists (NAEE) has said that about 75 per cent of Nigeria’s 170 million people still live without access to regular electricity supply.
NAEE said that despite statistics indicating that 45 per cent of the country’s population is currently connected to the national grid, regular supply is still restricted to just about 25 per cent of the population.
According to the association, most of the people with access to electricity are found within the urban areas of the country, thus leaving citizens in the rural areas with less access to electricity supply.
NAEE therefore raised concern on economic redundancy in these parts of the country, adding that despite the importance of energy to economic development, large proportions of Nigerians still lack access to electricity.
The National President of NAEE, Prof. WumiIledare, who briefed journalists in Abuja on the occasion of the ‘2015 World Energy Day’, pointed out that energy has contributed greatly to the transformation of the world and has provided comfort to the human race.
Iledare however noted that the association was concerned that majority of Nigerians do not have access to energy, stressing that for those with some form of access, availability and quality still remain major issues to contend with.
“Nigeria has vast and varied energy resources, both renewable and non-renewable resources. The nation is also the largest economy in Africa with a GDP (gross domestic product) of about $531.8 billion according to the World Bank, yet the nation still faces serious energy poverty issues, with energy supply falling short of energy demand.
“Using electricity as an example, less than 25 per cent of the total population of over 170 million has access to regular electricity. The remaining 75 per cent make do with little or no electricity although 45 per cent of the population is connected to the national grid,” said Iledare, who was represented by the Director, Centre for Petroleum, Energy Economics and Law, University of Ibadan, Prof, Adeola Adenikinju.
“It is estimated that the nation has as much as 90 per cent deficiency in electricity supply while in off-grid areas where some 50 per cent of Nigerians live, access to electricity is practically zero. Even in on-grid areas, power outages are still a recurrent theme and this has continued to pose serious constraints to economic development,” he added.
“There is obvious inequity in energy access based on levels of income, and location. Access is nearly 100 per cent in developed countries, compared to 60 per cent in the developing countries. In 2011 alone, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that about 68 per cent of the people in sub-Saharan Africa were without access to modern energy and 52 per cent of Nigeria’s population falls into that category,” he explained.
He added that despite the huge investments that have been made in the Nigeria’s energy industry by both the government and private sector, frequent energy shortfalls like incessant power outages and fuel scarcity are still a common occurrence, adding that this is even more pronounced in the rural areas.
Iledare urged the present government of President MuhammaduBuhari to dedicate priority attention to unlock the country’s huge potentials in solar, hydro and wind energy.
According to him, endemic corruption, poor assets maintenance, inadequate gas supply to thermal generation plants, transmission infrastructure, and inconsistent government policies have all contributed to the poor state of electricity in Nigeria.
“Until we are able to resolve the huge electricity deficit of the country, huge potentials of the economy would remain untapped and unavailable to current and future generations,” he added.
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