Emerging Markets – Rockson

…takes the lead in Independent Power Project Construction

Prior to his glorious commencement of creation, God declared “Let there be light” and as the saying goes; “there was light,” but that light never got to Nigeria as a nation.

Over the years, the nation’s electricity generation and distribution has been in disarray. The unkept promises by those in authority that the power situation in the country will improve has built a deep-seated resentment in the mind of the public, so much so that when electricity supply is uninterrupted for several hours; most people wonder if they are still in Nigeria.

In the past, those placed in authority for power generation and distribution in the country have flooded the media with an avalanche of excuses concerning why power generation and distribution has been poor. According to Prof. Rilwanu Lukman, a one time Minister of Mines and Power, the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA); which was then charged with the responsibility of electricity generation and distribution, was not to take the whole blame for the erratic power situation in the country. In his opinion, some customers have the practice of not informing NEPA of their plans to erect new buildings or even factories. Due to this development, the power authority facilities are overstretched; resulting in the overloading of the transformer serving that area.

Another excuse, which the authority has presented, is the issue of debt recovery. Officials of the then NEPA lamented that the State and Federal Governments are the chief debtors of the corporation. In 1985, investigation revealed that out of N250million owed to the corporation nationwide, the Federal Government alone owed N80million, while States like Kano and Kaduna owed N50million.

Besides, the officials of the corporation are always quick to point out the fact that the low level of the River Niger is responsible for power cuts. To some extent, this excuse may be acceptable, but since the River Niger supplies less than 20 percent of the nation’s electricity demand, perhaps there could be other reasons behind the erratic power supply in the country, which authorities of the corporation are not making public.

It would be recalled that prior to the Great Dry Spell of 1973, which marked the decline in the volume of water in the Niger River which operated the Kainji Hydroelectric Project in New Bussa, Kwara State, NEPA was generating over 4,148 megawatts and even sold as much as 900 megawatts to neighbouring countries. In 1985, Prof. Lukman while declaring that the corporation would generate as much as 5,248 megawatts of electricity the following year, stressed that in no time, NEPA would meet its target of 10,000 megawatts.

 

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