News

    Nigeria Seeks to Quadruple Electricity

    Vegetable sellers ply their wares by the light of locally-made lanterns in Lagos, Nigeria (file photo).
    Vegetable sellers ply their wares by the light of locally-made lanterns in Lagos, Nigeria (file photo).
    Heather Murdock

    The Nigerian government is privatizing the electricity business, hoping the move will quadruple electrical output over the next few years and usher in a new era of security and prosperity. Critics say corruption, cronyism, and scared investors could undermine the project. 

    Lack of power impacts almost every aspect of life in Nigeria.  Power shortages create insecurity, health problems, unemployment and crush attempts at development and economic growth.  Most people have no electricity and those who do have it, have it sporadically, often for a few hours a day.  

    When told the government is working on a plan that would quadruple available electricity, Abayomi and David, both young Nigerian men,  laugh. “I’m just keeping my fingers crossed you know, I’m just waiting," said Abayomi. “We are hoping it will come to a reality.  We are hoping it will come to a reality, but you say, four times better than now?  We hope so," David added. "We pray so.”

    The chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Committee, Sam Amadi, says energy development has been neglected for decades but that is about to change.

    He says Nigeria currently has an installed capacity of 3,800 megawatts, but almost a fourth of that energy often gets lost because of dilapidated transmission lines.  Amadi says in the next three or four years the government plans to privatize the industry, opening the door for both foreign and local businesses to thrive.  

    "Given Nigeria’s level of industrialization, Nigeria would need at least about 22 to 25,000 megawatts to sustain a middle level industrial operation as well as homes, Amadi explained. "So the demand-supply gap is huge."

    Amadi says 50 private companies have already been licensed to produce power, and the government is currently courting new investors.

    The director general of the Energy Commission of Nigeria, Abubakar Sani Sambo, says if the privatization plan works, Nigeria’s reputation for under-development could soon become a thing of the past.

    "The entire country will improve right from the industry sector, to the household sector to the services sector," Sambo stated.

    Sambo says the process may move slower than planned because investors are being scared off by the continuing bombings and kidnappings in Nigeria.  Security threats, he adds, are partially due to the lack of electricity that cripples the economy and leaves many young men out of work.  

    Member of parliament Yakubu Umaru Barde says the government needs to provide for all current electricity sector employees before privatization can possibly work.  He says many employees at the national power company were hired for political reasons, and as many as 40 percent may lose their jobs.

    “What’s happening today is that there are saboteurs even within the power-holding company.  They don’t want to privatize," Barde said. "And I think it’s not good for us.  But the government can address that.”

    Barde says if fired power-sector employees could be guaranteed compensation and pensions, the transition to private energy companies could be successful in the long run.  But, he says, sacrifices will have to be made along the way.  

    Critics say even cautious optimism is unrealistic when it comes to power in Nigeria.  Shehu Sani, president of the Civil Rights Congress, says President Goodluck Jonathan’s current electricity plan, which includes a recent $10 billion deal with General Electric, will adds to the billions of dollars Nigeria has spent on improving electrical output since it transitioned to civilian rule in 1999.  He says most of the money in the past was lost to corruption.

    "In most cases most of the money that is allocated for electricity ends up in private pockets," Sani noted. "It ends up with companies set up by people in government for their own personal benefit."

    Sani says back in 1999, Nigeria ran on 3,000 megawatts as ambitious new energy plans were announced.  Since then, he says, there has not been significant expansion.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Martins oyinleye coker
    April 27, 2012 2:24 PM
    Nigeria government can get it right on electricity if gov can fight corruption to lowest level

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.