Power: Former minister, Professor Barth Nnaji, others hold electricity summit in Enugu

Prof. Bart Nnaji

THE Executive Director of African Heritage, Professor Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, has said that electricity remains key ingredient for the nation’s economic development and unity, saying that beyond its quantity, the quality of electricity and its affordability are defining features not only for industrial growth and development but also for a good quality of life.

Addressing a press conference in Enugu ahead of the summit on electricity tagged “The Big  Ideas Podium” slated for June 29, this year, Professor Okeke-Uzodike, said that the importance of electricity cut across socio-economic activities like communication, industrial/manufacturing, transportation, healthcare and household.

Professor Okeke-Uzodike disclosed that the former Minister for Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, Professor Valentine Ekechukwu, Specialist on Applied Solar Power, among others, will be proffering enduring solution to endemic challenges of electricity supply in the country.

According to him,  “The electricity power specialists, government, NGOs, Civil Society Organisations (CSO), Organised Private Sector (OPS) and development partners in the country will hold the critical discourse on “The Big Ideas Podium’’ in Enugu.

Okeke-Uzodike, who described the failure of electricity as the major impediment to development and unity of the country, noted that electricity would be major determinant for the nation’s economy being among the first 20 largest economies in the world in few years.

“Regrettably, Nigeria is failing woefully with respect to ensuring that electricity produced and distributed for industrial and household consumption is adequate, of good quality, and sustain-ably affordable for manufacturers and citizens.

“In fact, the current status of generated electricity is chronically inadequate given its population size.

“The standard for electricity generation and consumption for any developing country is at least one megawatt for a population of 1,000 people (translating to be 1,000 megawatt for 1,000,0000 people).

“This implies that Nigeria should be generating over 180,000 megawatts of electricity. However, although Nigeria has an installed capacity of 12,341 megawatts, its actual generated electricity in May 2017 stood well below 4,000 megawatts per day.

“By contrast, Bangladesh (one of the poorest countries in the world) has an installed capacity of over 15,371 megawatts (with new production plants under construction for an additional 8,000 megawatts), routinely generates more than 10,000 megawatts of electricity daily,” he said.

The executive director noted that the country had never produced more than 5,100 megawatts of electricity; adding: “This imposes major costs on the Nigerian economy totaling more than $20 billion annually on the national GDP.”

He noted that the “The Big Ideas Podium” would provide opportunities on how to deal effectively with electricity challenges facing Nigeria in order to enhance economic activities for improved economic growth, development and national unity.

“The outcome is expected to inform not only our understanding of the issues around electricity but also policy decisions on how best to ensure that Nigerian industries, towns and communities are effectively powered for transformative development and sustainable peace,” he added.

The African Heritage Institution (Afri-Heritage), formerly known as African Institute for Applied Economics (AIAE), undertakes economic discourses, conducts economics and political policy research, facilitates policy advocacy, training, networking and consulting services.

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