By Obinna Agommuo -Executor Director, Economic Strategic Growth And Development Initiative of Africa (ESGADIA)
Today I write as an Entrepreneur, as a Pan Africanist and as Executor Director of the Economic Strategic Growth And Development Initiative of Africa (ESGADIA).Over the years I have watched my country Nigeria gradate imperceptibly with the issues of Power Generation from decade to decade. The result however is the closure of most of our local industries leading to a drastic drop in our GDP and consequently a drop in our GDP per capita as our population continue to swell, our Standard of living has become unbearably low with a laughable GDP per capita of slightly over 2,000 United States Dollars per annum. Growing up as a young vibrant business man in the 90s I could record over 35 Industries that made use of Natural Rubber (100% locally sourced) alone as raw material for their production. Plastics and Steel industries were flourishing in Nigeria. Then It was cheaper for the industries to generate power on their own to augment the power from the National Grid and still competed with their counterparts abroad. Today the story has changed and of course there’s only a limit an entrepreneur can take.
Nigeria with a population of about 200 million people with over 15 million cars can no longer boast of one Tire Manufacturing Industry that service the huge Nigeria automobile market.
It will interest us to know that over 90% of the raw material for Tire production could be sourced locally if we are serious people, from Natural Rubber, to Synthetic Rubbers (Products of Petroleum), to Carbon Black (Petrochemical product that accounts for 30-40% of Tire production which we produce locally), to sulfur (locally sourced) to Resins( Petroleum Products), all of these could be sourced locally.
Michelin and Dunlop shutdown and left Nigeria despite the huge market for their product because we weren’t ready to tell ourselves the bitter truth.
Nigeria with a population of close to 200 million people can not be celebrating 7000 MW of Electricity Generation when small countries like South Africa with a one fourth of Nigeria population of approximately 56 million is generating 45,000 MW,
Iran with a population of about 80million people is generating 78,000 MW of Power, Turkey with a population of about 80 million people is generating 56,000MW of power.
It’s therefore a bitter truth to say that no matter how hard Nigerians try, until we fix the issue of power generation, we will only equal other economies like the ones mentioned above after the end of time.
Nigeria Government must therefore rise up to her responsibility by declaring state of emergency in the power sector.
MY OBSERVATION AND REMEDIES:
I observe with keen interest in the power sector as to how Nigeria Government “Sold the Goat and kept the Rope”. To we Africans we understand that when this happens both the Goat and the Man who bought are in some sort of trouble.
First of all the unbundling of the power sector into Generation, Transmission and Distribution and selling them to “investors” while holding unto the Transmission section was as error that has to be corrected immediately. We have observed over the years that Governments in Nigeria are not good managers of businesses and as such can not be involved in the administration of Electricity in Nigeria.
There’s no investor of Power in the world of today that does not have the capacity to Generate, Transmit and Distribute power at the same time, why then do we have to fragment it and give to people who cannot live up to their obligations? The Nigeria population is a very huge market for those who are really serious to invest in Power, but who will invest in a business he or she can not have control over?
Why don’t we leave politics out of the power sector if we must drive our economy to an enviable state?
Nigerians want to work, Nigerians need the power to work.
The Private sector is the bedrock of every growing economy, let the private sector drive the power that drives the economy. Nigerian Government must hands off Transmission.
Further more Nigeria Government must do a proper power audit of the nation including the few existing local Industries and come up with a projection on the consumption capacity of the Nation with reasonable allowance for industries that may be established in the future.
ESGADIA was established to proffer solutions to some of these challenges that inhibits growth in Africa.
And if we all agree that if we must fix Africa we must first fix Nigeria being the “Giant” of Africa, then we should begin with the Power sector in Nigeria. Power is the pivot of every growing economy.
Just like Government did to the the network providers, Government of Nigeria should liberalize the power sector. That way, in no distant time Nigeria will hit 100,000 MW as real investors in Power will show up on the center stage. Nigeria have all the source for power generation; Solar, Wind, Oil, Gas, Hydro, Water, Coal and Waste. Also Nigeria has the population to purchase all that’s generated. So what is the matter with us? If we cannot manufacture the machines, can we also not be able to run simple machines to generate the much needed Electricity?
The Government’s National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) can only play its role as a regulatory body on behalf of the Government not for Government to be involved in power transmission.
To those Heads of Governments in Africa still holding unto power generation in their countries thereby inhibiting the growth of their people, this message is for you also.
Let us build the Africa of our dream, let us build our children future.
God Bless Africa
God Bless Nigeria
God Bless ESGADIA.
Good morning your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen of Great Entrepreneurial minds.