Analysing Atiku’s Agenda for Power Sector
The erratic power supply in Nigeria is generally believed to be the bane of economic and industrial development in the country. Many factors, including government inconsistent and misguided power reform policies; inefficiency in power generation, transmission, distribution and consumption; and the incompetent workforce of energy companies have been the reason for the near collapse of the sector.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, but also has one of the widest energy gaps in the world. With a growing population, Nigeria urgently needs to improve its power sector. It is therefore imperative that the next president must be up to his game and tackle power effectively if the economy must grow.
Atiku had said his approach, if elected as president, would be to first remove the entire electricity value chain from the exclusive list and give states the power to generate, transmit and distribute electricity for themselves. If he does this, Nigeria will be revived immediately.
This is because the verdict by Nigerians is that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC0, has performed abysmally and comprehensively failed, especially in the power sector with the number of grid collapses experienced so far in the country.
Nigeria has a population of over 220 million people and energy from the national grid is barely 4,500MW daily. Experts opine that solving Nigeria’s erratic power problem necessitates better governance and management of resources.
Energy problems of Nigeria are littered at each of the three tiers of the power sector; generation, transmission and distribution. Therefore, solving electricity problems in Nigeria has to go beyond the oratory. It would require leadership competence in policy formulation and implementation, capital infrastructure investment and sustainable maintenance..
This was exactly the position of the Senator for Ikot Ekpene District, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, who expressed optimism that Atiku Abubakar will remove the entire electricity value chain from the exclusive list and give states the power to generate, transmit and distribute electricity.
Ekpenyong believes that this will be the starting point of stable power for Nigerians. He also said: “There is a need for the country to have data-driven discussions on key solutions to the myriad of challenges facing the electricity sector.
“Issues are bothering on infrastructure, distribution of available megawatts of electricity generated and banking on alternate sources of energy to solve the country’s electricity challenges. It is important to have solutions that are backed up by data and not just assumptions.
“Transmission and distribution lines in Nigeria are dilapidated thereby, causing an infrastructural gap for the power sector. Some other issues facing the country’s electricity sector include poor gas supply and hydropower sources refusing to fire up as they ought to. Nigeria is not producing enough to meet the growing demands in the country”, Ekpenyong agrees but further insists that “there is a need to have policies that help the energy sector and the importance of monitoring key players in the sector.”
Atiku understands the need to invest in energy in Nigeria. If this problem is solved, according to him, Nigeria will be on its way to rapid development with new investments to the energy sector, and conduct power asset inventory and audit to determine priority investment needs across the value chain and funding to replace or repair assets.
Resolving long-standing government liabilities to the electricity sector and create fiscal rules for future payments will help prevent debt buildup as well as increase the capital allocation for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), including an analysis of its budget performance. We should also consider privatization of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN.”
But the PDP candidate is not resting on his oars in his quest to solve the epileptic power supply in the country.
On how he would improve the electricity supply in the country, Atiku said: “Our administration will consider declaring a state of emergency in the Power Sector to underscore our concerns about the state of affairs in the sector.
“As a short-term measure to ensure enhanced supply within the first year of the new administration, I shall initiate and implement an Emergency Power Programme (EPPs), which can deliver additional capacity in certain key areas.
“Over the medium term, I will then go on to propose legislation for the removal of the entire electricity value chain from the exclusive list and give states the power to generate, transmit and distribute electricity for themselves.”
Also, the PDP candidate said: “Secondly, my policy shall aim at achieving greater coordination of investments in the entire electricity value chain. Investments in additional generation capacity are futile without consideration for the complementary transmission and distribution infrastructure to wheel the additional energy.”
Here, Atiku shows understanding and knowledge of the issues and readiness to take them head-on.