Why The Outlook For Fixing Nigeria’s Energy Crisis Isn’t Good

Nigeria must invest more in solar panels like this to generate electricity Millenius/Shutterstock

By Nnaemeka Vincent Emodi

Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999. But it took another 16 years for power to change hands, with the All Progressive Congress clinching the office of the presidency in 2015. Led by President Muhammadu Buhari, the new government had three priority areas: corruption, the economy and security.

The power sector is at the heart of the economy in Nigeria.

In its 2014 manifesto the party promised to expand electricity generation and distribution to supply 40,000 megawatts in four to eight years. It also said it would make power available from renewable energy sources, such as solar, hydro, wind and biomass, for domestic and industrial use.

There has been some development, including the completion of two hydroelectric power projects. The Geometric Power project has gas, coal and solar power plants. And the transmission network was expanded.

Yet, overall, progress remained slow. As he took office for his second term, Buhari made new promises. This time, the party’s manifesto said it would:

Generate, transmit and distribute from current 5,000–6,000 MW to at least 20,000 MW of electricity within four years and increasing to 50,000 MW with a view to achieving 24/7 uninterrupted power supply within ten years, whilst simultaneously ensuring the development of sustainable/renewable energy.

The 2019 presidential election returned Buhari to steer the country for the next four years. The hope was that the victory would ensure that he would be poised to contain and tackle the challenges of the country.

But the outlook for meeting the targets in the energy sector isn’t good. Households and businesses in Nigeria feel let down. For many Nigerians, power supply seems much the same as ever. Some even claim that the situation has become worse.

The biggest issue facing Nigeria remains that of energy poverty, which successive administrations since 1999 have not resolved.

This points to the need – as a matter of urgency – for the present administration to identify the shortcomings of current policies. It must simultaneously develop policy options that will improve energy efficiency.

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