A significant number of Nigerians are placing the quest for regular electricity supply as the top priority that should be tackled by the incoming administration under the leadership of General Mohammadu Buhari, going by the outcome of popular a survey on expectations from the new government.
The research conducted by the NOIPolls Limited and released recently revealed ‘electricity’ as the top economic issue Nigerians want the government to address within the next six months in office.
Meanwhile, power statistics from the Federal Ministry of Power puts the national energy generation at 3,540 Mega Watts (mw) as at March 31, 2015.
It however estimated the peak demand at 12,800 mw, indicating a shortfall of about 9260mw. According to the survey, majority of the participants (about 68 percent) of adult Nigerians suggest electricity as top priority alongside security, job creation, and education among others.
The survey posed, “electricity (68 per cent), security (58 per cent), job creation (55 per cent), roads (49 per cent), education (42 per cent), health care (31 per cent), agriculture/food security (29 per cent), potable water (26 per cent), transportation (24 per cent), and corruption with 21 per cent accordingly.
Furthermore, poor electricity supply was identified as the most critical factor impeding growth of businesses in the country. Consequently, more than 6 in 10 Nigerians (63 percent) were of the opinion that the Federal Government should be responsible for creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive across board.
It stated: “It is imperative that the economic team focuses its attention on addressing these key issues that have been identified by Nigerians.
To this effect, great consideration should be given to the engagement of top class professionals and experts in the sectors concerned, to articulate and implement strategies to tackle these issues which have long affected the Nigerian economy and the general wellbeing of Nigerians.”
Though, some few consumers have admitted to be witnessed improvement in electricity over the past six months (which could be as a direct impact of the power sector reforms), nevertheless high power outage still characterizes electricity supply, given that majority receive a daily cumulative of one to four hours of power supply daily.
President Jonathan’s administration had taken the bull by the horn by privatising the troubled power sector, but electricity consumers have continued to lament the lingering black out, which is imposing untold hardship on businesses and domestic activities.
The Minister for Power, Chinedu Nebo, had also said the nascent privatized electricity supply industry was also grappling with challenges of meeting the conditions precedent to the commencement of the Transitional Electricity Market (TEM).
He emphasised the challenges of pipeline vandalism, which he said had caused a major setback to power generation in the country.
“Incidents of vandalism of oil and gas pipelines have blighted many of the achievements that have been recorded in increasing the supply of gas to power. These acts by their sheer savagery and regularity have constrained the generation of power to much less than the current system capacity of about 5,500MW.
“Whilst government is leaving no stone unturned to bring these incidents under control and the perpetrators to book, it remains open to all ideas aimed at achieving lasting and sustainable solutions,” he said.