Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The publication, Business World recently reported that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) plans to ban the importation of generators. Now, for anyone who knows Nigeria, lived in Nigeria or has been to Nigeria, generators are a way of life for those who can afford them. The sound of generators whirring at all hours to deliver electricity is likely more prevalent today than the sound emitted from the deadly anopheles mosquito which freely delivers malaria.

The potential ban is supposedly tied to the failure of generator manufacturers to attach 'optimizers' to the units. These 'optimizers' make generators more efficient and limit the environmental burden they create via pollution which is equally harmful to individuals.

Although it is a good things that the FGN is concerned with the effects of pollution, this government must also consider the consequences of a potential ban. Banning the importation of generators is not a solution for the problem of Nigeria's epileptic power supply and other contributing factors that keep the nation in darkness. Besides, if this administration (or any, frankly) is truly worried about the environment, then it seems the gas flaring in the Niger Delta would be the primary issue to tackle considering the delay in addressing that issue over the years.

Not enough is currently done to ease the process of doing business in Nigeria, as evidenced by the number of large scale employers that have fled the country - Michelin, Coca Cola (which shut the nation's only concentrate factory) and many more), not to talk of what small business owners go through (as discussed by Mrs. Adenike Ogunlesi, a business owner). Businesses already spend over N1 trillion on generator costs and generate 28,000MW of electricity. Consequently, a generator importation ban will simply construe an additional burden on business owners, driving up business costs and in turn creating an increase in prices for everything. All along the supply chain, for any product sold in the country, energy costs have been factored into the final price the buyer eventually pays. Depriving many of these business owners - big and small - only complicates their lives and in turn, complicates the lives of the end user - the average Nigerian citizen, whether or not they can afford a generator and the diesel needed to run it.

Furthermore, in a country where the head of the Central Bank indicated that it will "print more Naira", depriving businesses and individuals from buying generators - a user-generated solution to a problem - could also increase inflation. Higher levels of inflation are not a problem any country needs to deal with particularly given the current global economic slowdown. The ban might hurt Femi Otedola, a billionaire whose company has a monopoly over the supply of diesel, but, the greater consequences will be truly felt by the average citizen.

The FGN should instead focus on tackling the problems that lead to the need for generators - POWER SUPPLY. The unfortunate reality is that Nigeria exports electricity as far away as Ghana but cannot handle the delivery of electricity to the majority of its citizens. PHCN recently declared that it will achieve its 6000MW target in December (a target which still is embarrassing in this day and age and for a country with the resources like Nigeria). Additionally, creating incentives for Nigerians and businesses to use alternative energy sources such as solar power would equally address pollution concerns. If it was easier and cheaper to produce and purchase solar energy products, people would obviously employ that means of power generation over traditional diesel generators. The key is to focus on solutions, not fringe issues that will not benefit the masses.

And, if the FGN is truly wasting Nigeria's money on this issue then a ban on generators that do not meet environmental standards would help achieve FGN's pollution concerns without placing an additional undue burden upon the populace. Nevertheless, may I suggest the following efficient solutions to reduce the amount of money spent in Nigeria on generators and diesel -
  1. Aso Rock (where the President and his family lives) MUST NOT BUY/USE DIESEL & GENERATORS until at least 100,000MW of energy can be produced by the nation's electricity installations.
  2. The offices of Nigeria's National Assembly (the inhabitants of which refused to debate the results of the 2008 Power probes) MUST NOT BUY/USE DIESEL & GENERATORS.
  3. All Federal Government ministries, agencies, and other bureacratic offices MUST NOT BUY/USE DIESEL & GENERATORS.
  4. Any proxy of the government that receives federal government funds or monies from the excess crude fund MUST NOT BUY/USE DIESEL & GENERATORS (this would technically include state government buildings which house state government staff, living quarters for state officials and their families.
  5. Extend the PHCN-generator ban to the residences of high-ranking officials.
Now, these suggestions will not miraculously increase the power generated in Nigeria, but I am convinced that they might spur the aggressive application of solutions that will ease the country out of darkness. Coupled with an increase in power generation which has been promised now that the amnesty is paying certain dividends, could help reduce the need to ban the importation of generators, satisfy the nation's power needs and #lightupnigeria.

Related Articles From the Archives:
- Nigerian Ingenuity: The Electricity Issue
- The Mission To Light Up Nigeria
- More Solar Energy Plans
- Solar Energy Plans
- Could Coal Be A Power Solution For Nigeria
- Nigerian Coal Power To Be A Reality?
- Nigeria Is Full Of Gas
- Power Blackouts Loom Across Nigeria
- Nigerian Power Scandal: Authority Stealing

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15 Curiosities. Add Yours.:

muyiwa said...

They must be crazy to do that,we lack good governance in nigeria and devil will punish all of them

Controversy said...

Lol hmm i don't approve of them banning it o. But if they provide steady electricity then I will agree with them.

Doja 2.0 said...

Ordinary citizens are really suffering in Nigeria.

Beauty said...

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) plans to ban the importation of generators was probably leaked to get an extra mile out of some daft supplier or how else would this shot in the dark be made possible?

culturesoup said...

IMO, this is a ridiculous measure. It's another example of the lack of joined up thinking that Nigerian government is notorious for. It's like saying, yeah we see the problem but instead of proposing a solution that actually solves it we'll come up with something that creates another layer of difficulty for people.

The need for generators would greatly reduce if people had access to a stable electricity supply. Then there would not be a big problem with optimisers either. DUH!!

Why does the govt like banning stuff anyway? It never really achieves anything apart from punish ordinary consumers and enrich some customs officers and the few business people that manage to get around the rules.

Anonymous said...

Before it was...NEPA (Never Expect Power Always)
Then after.....PHCN (Problem Has Changed Name)
And then what?...
May Allah deliver us from the evil plotters and resurrect our poor country from these incomprehensible FOOLS. For certain, our Lord can do all things...all we can do now is to pray to The Creator of all existence.

Anya P said...

And then what will be the alternative? It is not logical to place a ban on importation unless Nigerian manufacturers start producing their own generators or the power situation improves drastically. Sheybi Mr. Go-Slow said constant power supply will be up & running by DECEMBER, we have 2 months to go!

NaijaBabe said...

Sillyness...what is the point?

I thought they were placing the ban so it could hasten the resolution of electricity issue?

Sorry this is pure nonsense

N.I.M.M.O said...

Way to go, Mr. President!

Next, let's ban the importation of luxury cars and SUV.

But wait!

You had just reduced the import duties on generators!


Wake up Man!

Omo Oba said...

lol @ SSD's suggestions.
I dont think the generator ban is far-fetched. Generator business men are thriving in our darkness...and of course, also contributing to the problem by bribing the govt so their business can continue to thrive. If Yar'adua can really put his foot down on this (and also make sure that the same stds applies to govt offices as SSD suggested), then I think thats a step forward. By the way, they shd also realze that innverters are also fast becoming popular in Lagos and many of them automatically come on once NEPA/PHCN goes off.

Miss FlyHigh - LondonsNaijaQueen said...

Well....common sense is obviouslt not common!!! It is common sense that banning the importation of generators is only going to cause problem...

Nwamma mercy ifeyinwa said...

if nigeria's can uphold the principles of development, they will realise that for a country to develop, the use of steady electricity will be impose.

Eze abou na mbaise said...

These set of idiots have been using us poor Nigerians for edges but one thing am sure of is that God will never allow them and their generations to go unpunished.

If they are not bastards why would they come up with this issue of banning the importation of generators while there’s no steady power supply in Nigeria, I believe if there’s steady power supply no one will go to purchase a generator.

Stupid people they know what they are doing, their contract with the generator importers has expired so this is another way of asking them to come and renew their bribery contract.

Anonymous said...

Well, my people, you don,t have to beg them, let the bastards go ahead.
We are blessed with lots of mineral, not coca-cola anyway, i mean ALMIGHTY OIL.
Lets ask what they do with the money, ALL DEY WAKA GO EUROPE WITHOUT LEG;
If the saudis,kuwait can make use of their oil money, why not Nigeria,intead of giving we Nigerians a better source of power like WIND and SOLAR ENERGY,we are still managing the old Kainji power supply, and others.
I hope one day, Nigerians will chase those CRAZY BALD HEADS OUT OF TOWN:


@ Anon 9:10: amen!

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