banking

W’Bank: Power Sector Credibility Depends on Visible Results

April 27, 2021

The World Bank has said that Nigerians’ faith in the power sector can only be boosted when they see visible results from ongoing reforms in the country.

The Bank’s Practice Manager, West and Central Africa Energy, Ashish Khanna, who stated this during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja, however stated that the challenge of credibility in the sector was not only a Nigerian problem.

“People are really struggling on what to believe in the power sector reforms, although Nigeria is not alone.

“What we are seeing internationally is that the trust and credibility often come when there’s a carefully drafted integrated vision for the sector and there are actual delivery of results that people really want to see,” he stated.

Khanna said the Nigerian power sector recovery plan is now at a crucial stage, with a clearer and integrated vision of what the government needs to do, what the private sector should do and what the regulators need to do.

“This is the critical stage of implementation and we also believe that the initial building blocks of building credibility are there,” he noted.

On what is being done differently to ensure that the reforms succeed, he stated that no amount of technical work would go through without the political leadership and the government at the highest level, which he said now exists.

He added that there’s now the realisation that without enough investment or the right best practices being followed, the reforms will not succeed.

According to him, for the first time, the industry now has better policy clarity, while the focus is on working on the weakest links in the sector.

In his remarks, Country Director, Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, noted that lack of sufficient power supply remains one of Nigeria’s top problems which must be resolved to unleash the full potential of Nigerians.

“Power is the most critical challenge for Nigeria to overcome. It is the oxygen for any economically and without it, firms, households and enterprises will struggle to survive.

“If not the most important thing, it’s definitely in the top three things that has kept Nigeria from realising its potential from diversifying its economy and creating jobs for the millions of people,” he stated.

The bank lamented that the country’s power sector has not kept up with demand or provided reliable supply to existing customers, making businesses in Nigeria to lose billions of dollars due to unreliable electricity.

The federal government at the weekend rejected a World Bank’s report, which had indicated that over 78 per cent of electricity consumers in Nigeria received less than 12 hours of electricity supply daily.

The Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, Mr. Ahmad Zakari, while disputing the survey, said it was unclear what empirical evidence the bank deployed to arrive at the figures.

The Bank had stated that a total of 74 per cent of power users in Nigeria were dissatisfied with the supply of electricity across the country.

It further disclosed that while 93 per cent of metered power users paid their bills regularly, while 78 per cent of electricity consumers in Nigeria received less than 12 hours of supply daily, stressing that the findings were done after a thorough survey conducted by the global financial institution.

But the federal government insisted that power distribution to consumers had been steadily improving, even though it had stated that 17 of the 25 generation power plants were down, leading to a deterioration in nationwide supply.

While responding to the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP), a fact sheet released by the Bank, the government noted that it was inaccurate to make a blanket statement on the country’s power sector.
It argued that empirical evidence from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) showed that only 55 per cent of citizens connected to the grid is in tariff bands D and E which is less than 12 hours supply.

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