NIGERIA'S ENERGY WOES
Nigeria is currently experiencing a serious electric power deficit. Approximately 60% of Nigerians do not have access to electricity and of the other 40% that do, they face inconsistent energy supply and live without power a majority of the time. The recent Senate 'power probe' revealed that former President Obasanjo unofficially gave away $50 million to non-existent companies and that his administration had officially spent between $10 - $16 billion on the power sector with no measurable results.
The new President then promised to make power generation and supply a benchmark of his administration's success. Yar'Adua promised that Nigerians will have regular power supply by 2011 with a production of 20,000MW by Nigeria's power plants. This is a promise that he has now reneged on. Instead of 20,000MW, Nigeria's Minister of State for Energy (Power), Fatima Ibrahim Balaraba, announced that by 2011 the nation will only generate 10,000MW. However, based on the government's own Electricity Master Plan, this means that the country will not achieve its planned power generation marker of 15000MW by 2011 so as to achieve the Vision 2020 plan that Yar'Adua hinged his administration on.
WILL THE GOAL BE ACHIEVED?
I try to pay attention to the various options that Nigeria has to satisfy the power needs of its citizens. There are constant reports of various plans to transform the power sector. However, if within less than 8 weeks, the administration has already reneged on its 2011 mission, how can one believe that natural gas will be transformed into an asset for Nigerians? With the President currently in Saudi Arabia, having been there for 2 weeks and with no idea of when exactly he will return, how can Nigerians be confident that the power needs of the country are on track?
Regardless of the concerns, the reality is that Nigeria needs a stable system of power generation to ensure the development the nation seeks. Hopefully, natural gas will be one additional alternative to electrify the nation's homes and businesses.
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