Oge Obi

The Nigeria Association for Energy Economics (NAEE) has said that citizens’ low access to electricity has worsened the poverty situation in the country.

The Association disclosed data obtained from the Trading Economics 2018, showed that over 40 per cent of Nigerians do not have access to electricity.

Speaking at the 2018 World Energy Day in Abuja, the President of NAEE, Prof. Wumi Iledare disclosed that poor access to electricity would undoubtedly leads to diminished social and economic status of any country.

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.”

Speaking further, Iledare called for amendments to the 2005 Electric Power Sector Reform Act that will enable energy regulatory bodies and policy institutions function with zero tolerance to political interference. “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.”

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