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Northern elites link insecurity to poor power supply



Arewa Research and Development Project, ARDP, a conglomerate of Northern intellectuals, has said failure of industries to optimally operate due to poor electricity supply was partly responsible for the nation’s state of insecurity.

“The industries cannot thrive without power, jobs cannot be created without industries and insecurity rises without jobs,” the group said.

The elite group lamented the poor power supply in the country, saying the provision of inadequate electricity by Distribution Companies, DISCOs, has crippled the manufacturing sector in Nigeria.

ARDP’s position was a fallout of the enlightenment programme it had with officials of Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, in Kaduna, with the Managing Director of the company, Usman Gur Muhammed, speaking on the state of power supply in the country.

A communique issued at the end of the interface and signed by ARDP chairman, Communique Drafting Committee, Professor Idris Bugaje, explained that industries could not thrive without power.

He said: “The challenges of job creation, wealth generation and insecurity currently bedeviling Nigeria cannot be addressed without adequate power supply.

“Nigeria’s per capital energy consumption is 33W which is grossly inadequate when compared with South Africa’s 270W, Egypt’s 400W and EU’s 1,000W.

“Northern Nigeria per capital energy consumption is about 10W which is only one third of the national average. Manufacturers Association of Nigeria estimated that its members currently self-generate 13,000 Mega Watts of electricity to power their industries, which he said, is three times more than the power supplied by the Nigerian power distribution companies”.

“Northern Nigeria has huge untapped renewable energy sources; power reforms have not delivered on the much-heralded expected impact of supplying regular electricity for domestic and industrial usages.

“In the current Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry, NESI, the rate limiting step appears to be the Distribution Companies, DISCOs. The TCN seems to have a clear plan to rehabilitate and expand critical transmission assets through its Transmission and Expansion Program, TREP.

“The flat rates being paid by significant number of electricity consumers (estimated bills) favours the DISCOs in generating income for electricity not supplied.’’

“TCN is aggressively expanding the transmission lines to nooks and corners of the country. Under the current leadership of TCN, the company is building local capacity of Nigerian Engineers to be able to provide critical services.”

and get involved in developing, running and maintenance of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) which is a tool for effective grid management.

“TCN procurement process has been improved with payments tired to specific timeline. The mini-grid policy and direct salel of power to large consumers policy by NERC is now articulated.

The Communique at the end of deliberation by the Northern group and TCN officials recommended: “The Distribution Companies, DISCOs, must be recapitalised and if they lack capacity, the whole process should be reversed to allow Government recover and rehabilitate the distribution infrastructure and decide on the next steps.

“Federal Government should ensure proportionate representation on Board of Directors of DISCOs to represent it’s 40% shares. All electricity consumers should be metered and estimated billing stopped immediately.

‘’The meters should be accessible and available even in supermarkets for all to buy and certified installers allowed to fix them. Electricity pricing should be based on cost reflective tariff.’’

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