As a new administration is inaugurated today, a prominent energy solutions organisation, The Electricity Hub, TEH, has lamented that about 92 million Nigerians are not connected to the national grid.
The Electricity Hub said the solution to this perennial power deficit in the country is an increased financing, political stability among others.
Speaking at its 82nd Power Dialogue in Abuja, weekend, TEH panelists contended that the new administration must put in place quality strategic plans to attain the goal of offsetting the deficit.
They were of the opinion that political stability was essential to ensuring sustainable economic development and increase investment in any country, while access to power remains a critical economic driver.
According to them, to get it right, “Nigeria needs clear plans and ensure that things are in place for incoming leaders to hit the ground running to actualise this goal, whereas access to finance is crucial to achieving Vision 30:30:30 in Nigeria, among other critical factors.”
The Dialogue also discussed the roadmap to accessing finance for the next phase towards Vision 30:30:30.
The panel discussants, who are experts in different fields included Engr. Edu Okeke, Managing Director, Azura Power; Abigail Botsha, Head of Marketing and Business Development, GVE Projects Limited; Engr. Abubakar Ali-Dapshima, Director, Renewable and Rural Power Access, Federal Ministry of Power; and Ayo Ademilua, President, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria.
They noted that the World Bank 2022 “Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report” showed that Nigeria has the highest energy access deficit in the world, with about 92 million Nigerians lacking access to grid power, accounting for about 45% of the population in 2022.
As one of the solutions to close the energy access gap and part of the National Renewable Energy and Efficiency Policy, the government launched Vision 30:30:30 to attain 30 gigawatts of power from an energy mix with 30 percent renewables by 2030, they recalled.
The panelists unanimously agreed that finance is essential in closing the energy access gap and attaining this ambitious goal.
Engr Abubakar Ali-Dapshima noted that the vision 30:30:30 developed in 2014 was a framework to aid the country in increasing renewable energy in the energy mix. He highlighted the different programs and projects of the Ministry of Power to improve energy access in the public and private sectors.
He listed the efforts of the government and incentives in place to attract private sector participation in collaboration with the government in the power sector.
Mr. Ayo Ademilua spoke about some of the requirements to drive energy access. He highlighted validated harmonised data as a crucial tool for understanding the scope of the country’s served, unserved and underserved regions.
He further canvassed the need for favourable policies for reaching the last miles and underserved areas, capacity building, transmission infrastructure development, and the need for a standardised monitoring and reporting framework on energy access projects in the country to keep track of progress.
Engr. Edu noted that having a stable grid is crucial; however, it will depend on Nigeria developing a robust strategy to attract finance.
He stated that government efforts should cover policies, processes, and projects at 30:30:40 for optimum performance, adding that the government must focus on projects that would catalyse private sector investment.
Edu pointed out that the unfortunate situation of many investors leaving the country was due to unfavourable policies.
He argued that finance only goes where it is accepted because the sole aim of any investment is profitability, not charity.
He said, “Government policies are the challenges of the power sector. He added that “the role of the public sector is to put structures in place, while that of the private sector is to checkmate the public sector policies.”