Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Former Minister for Power, Prof. Bart Nnaji and Prof. Valentine Ekechukwu, specialist on applied solar power will on June 29, proffer lasting solution to the endemic electricity supply challenge in the country as they appear on the Big Ideas Podium of the African Heritage Institution, Enugu.
While Nnaji will function as the guest speaker on the third edition of the lecture series, Ekechukwu would be a lead discussant. The former minister is expected to dissect issues in Nigeria’s power challenge as a scourge and impediment to nation’s development.
Big Ideas podium is one of the talk series of Afriheritage Institution in Enugu where the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, seats as the Chairman Board of Directors. The first and second editions had featured as guest speakers, the former Governor of Cross Rivers State, Donald Duke and Nigeria’s former Ambassador to United Nations, Prof. George Obiozor, respectively.
The Executive Director of African Heritage Institution, Prof. Ufo Okeke-Uzodike, said yesterday at a press briefing titled: ‘Electricity: Key Ingredients for Nigeria’s Economic Development and Unity,’ that the high-powered discourse would be held on June 29.
Okeke-Uzodike, who described the failure of electricity as the major impediment to development and unity of the country, noted that electricity would be major determinant for the nation’s economy being among the first 20 largest economies in the world in few years.
He stressed the importance of electricity, which cut across socio-economic activities like communications, industrial/manufacturing activities, transportation, healthcare and even household use.
According to him, as such, beyond its quantity, the quality of electricity and its affordability are defining features not only for industrial growth and development but also for a good quality life.
“Regrettably, Nigeria is failing woefully with respect to ensuring that electricity produced and distributed for industrial and household consumption is adequate, of good quality, and sustain-ably affordable for manufacturers and citizens.
“In fact, the current status of generated electricity is chronically inadequate given its population size.
“The standard for electricity generation and consumption for any developing country is at least one megawatt for a population of 1,000 people (translating to be 1,000 megawatt for 1,000,0000 people).
“This implies that Nigeria should be generating over 180,000 megawatts of electricity. “However, although Nigeria has an installed capacity of 12,341 megawatts, its actual generated electricity in May 2017 stood well below 4,000 megawatts per day.
“By contrast, Bangladesh (one of the poorest countries in the world) has an installed capacity of over 15,371 megawatts (with new production plants under construction for an additional 8,000 megawatts), routinely generates more than 10,000 megawatts of electricity daily,’’ he said.
The executive director noted that the country had never produced more than 5,100 megawatts of electricity; adding: “This imposes major costs on the Nigerian economy totaling more than $20 billion annually on the national GDP.’’
He noted that the “The Big Ideas Podium’’ would provide opportunities on how to deal effectively with electricity challenges facing Nigeria in order to enhance economic activities for improved economic growth, development and national unity.
“The outcome is expected to inform not only our understanding of the issues around electricity but also policy decisions on how best to ensure that Nigerian industries, towns and communities are effectively powered for transformative development and sustainable peace,’’ he added.
The African Heritage Institution (Afri-Heritage), formerly known as African Institute for Applied Economics (AIAE), undertakes economic discourses, conducts economics and political policy research, facilitates policy advocacy, training, networking and consulting services.