Poverty in Nigeria is being worsened by low access to electricity across the country, the Nigeria Association for Energy Economics has said.
According to the NAEE, data obtained from the Trading Economics 2018 showed that over 40 per cent of Nigerians do not have access to electricity.
It stated that comparatively, the data showed that only 20 per cent of people in Brazil, less than one per cent of those in Pakistan and 10 per cent of residents in Indonesia do not have access to electricity.
The association’s President, Prof. Wumi Iledare, who disclosed this at the fourth NAEE celebration of the World Energy Day in Abuja, noted that limited access to electricity was inextricably linked with diminished social and economic status of a nation.
He said, “For instance, studies have shown that countries with low access to energy tend to have low access to modern energy services. Additionally, lack of access to modern energy services tends to limit households’ purchasing power potential from income generating opportunities.
“Thus, without access to adequate electricity and modern forms of energy services, it may be difficult to evolve low-income economy, promote economic growth and employment as well as support human development.”
He said there was a need for Nigeria to have a self-adjusting energy policy that recognises and addresses energy poverty as a critical limitation to economic growth with its sociological embarrassment.
Iledare said, “Let me offer some way forward to attaining sustainable and affordable access to electricity in order to derive maximum energy services required for sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria.
“This begins with a review and perhaps some amendments to the 2005 Electric Power Sector Reform Act with respect to sections on institutions and governance as well as market reform. There is a need to avoid overlap among energy regulatory and policy institutions and NERC (Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission) must be allowed to function as an institution with zero tolerance to political interference.
“NERC must be apolitical. Lessons can certainly be learnt from the apolitical nature to a large extent of the regulatory authority of the Central Bank of Nigeria to regulate financial institutions in Nigeria with its absolute power to manage money supply in the economy. Although there are still some disturbances in the conduct of financial market in Nigeria, they are a far cry from the huge disturbances in the electricity market.”