• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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National grid collapse: Time to act with grace

National grid collapse: Time to act with grace

There are growing concerns about the nation’s power sector due to the increasing number of national grid collapses. The collapse of the national grid several times in recent months brings to prominence the country’s energy sector crisis. And raises fundamental questions about the nation’s capacity to overcome the challenges facing the power sector.

It’s unbelievable that the national grid has collapsed nine times in less than one year under the current administration of President Tinubu. This happens despite Mr President’s affirmation in his New Year message that: “No meaningful economic transformation can happen without a steady electricity supply in 2024.” Despite this declaration, we read about stories of repeated national grid failures. The consequences are prolonged power outages, while most businesses and households are facing exacerbating challenges daily.

Read also: Total blackout as national grid collapses for the 5th time in four months

The latest national grid collapse which occurred some time ago plunged several parts of the country into darkness with negative impact on socio-economic activities nationwide. In annoyance, some public intellectuals expressed shock and displayed anger. In fact, some of these public intellectuals are of the view that the nation’s power sector is a disgrace. It’s a sector of the economy that has brought shame to the government and people of this country many times indicating that power failure is a fact of life in Nigeria. Most businesses and households now operate their own generators with attendant implications for costs and disruption of production. This is the dire situation in a country of over 200 million people with abundant gas and oil reserves. It’s just a pity!

It’s time to take necessary action. But those in authority particularly the Ministry of Power and all stakeholders must be willing to act with grace. Acting with grace is largely about focusing on what should happen next, rather than wasting precious time and resources on what happened in the past. If those in authority concentrate their time and energy on what happened in the past, the pledge by the Minister of Power to raise power output to 20,000MW by 2026 will be impossible. Generating, transmitting and distributing 20,000MW of electricity from barely 4000 MW is not a child’s play. It requires commitment and seriousness.

Q: “If those in authority concentrate their time and energy on what happened in the past, the pledge by the Minister of Power to raise power output to 20,000MW by 2026 will be impossible.”

Taking necessary steps with grace is about taking ownership of the power sector and not permitting some “powerful” individuals to stall all processes and procedures to ensure that the power grid doesn’t collapse again. Acting with grace is about emotions and responses to numerous grid failures, it isn’t about being angry with consumers who pay for darkness. It’s all about ensuring that consumers are supplied electricity in return for the tariff paid.

Business owners are going through challenging times. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are devastated because of incessant power grid failures. Cost of production has increased in recent times, especially with the rise in electricity tariff. Regrettably, many firms may be forced to lay off workers or close outright with the hike in electricity tariff. Recently the Organized Private Sector (OPS) was quoted as saying that:

“Clearly, with the new tariff of N225/kWh, Nigeria now ranks third after Germany and the United Kingdom on the list of countries with high electricity cost. What is most worrisome with the Nigerian case is the fact that the electricity to be supplied is not adequate.”

“Also, the increase in electricity tariffs is coming on the heels of macroeconomic instability, infrastructure deficits, as well as other supply side constraints limiting the performance of the productive sector. Truth be told, over 65 percent of private businesses, especially manufacturing concerns and SMEs, may be forced to close down due to high electricity tariff.”

Read also: What does national grid collapse mean in Nigeria?

Experts are of the view that sudden hike in electricity tariff will increase inflation levels and raise the degree of poverty in the country. If the power sector has gulped more than N 2.0 trillion in intervention funds provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since 2015, according to reports, when will there be an improvement in the power supply?

Mr President and his team need to do things differently. Many Nigerians are eagerly waiting for Mr President’s power sector plan. A power sector plan within the context of industrial development strategy that will promote the development of first-class infrastructure in power generation, transmission and distribution networks.

Truth be told, the lack of adequate power supply in the 21st Century and willful disregard of critical infrastructure in an era of fourth industrial revolution shows we are not prepared for techno-economic development in Nigeria. So, whatever plan Mr President and his team will articulate must show that Nigeria possesses an unrivalled understanding of how to establish, operate and maintain a power sector efficiently. It’s only then the government can rally technical, financial and international expertise to revive and implement the inherited reforms and articulate a new road map. We must emphasise competence, transparency and accountability in the power sector. Thank you.

MA Johnson, Rear Admiral (Rtd)