Policies in place will phase out industry cabals, says Aide
Notwithstanding the slow impact of the economic policies put in place by this administration on average Nigerian, the Presidency has assured that their full take off would eliminate the incidence of industry cabals.
Reacting to issues raised on generator importers and truck and heavy duty vehicle owners ensuring that Nigeria’s power supply and rail transport system do not work, Special Adviser to the Vice President on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, assured that current policies on power supply and rail transport would cut short such economic sabotage.
Specifically, Dipeolu told journalists in Lagos, on Sunday that granted that Nigeria is among the world’s top importer of generators, however, the recent captive off-grid power policy being adopted by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing is making electricity supply much cheaper than fuel generators.
Similarly, he said the four major railway projects that would cut across every state capital, will also ensure that the transportation of goods and persons by rail will be cheaper than the road system. Aside the attendant health and environment hazard, Nigeria spends billions of dollars importing and powering generators yearly.
German development agency, GIZ, had estimated that “With several millions of privately installed diesel generators, Nigeria leads Africa as a generator importer and is one of the highest importers worldwide, with the total annual import figure being N17.9billion ($112million).”
Reports also suggested that small-scale businesses and families spend an average of N3.5trillion ($21.8billion) yearly to power their generators with diesel and petrol.
This is because of the estimated 16.4 million rural households in Nigeria, only about 4.6 million are connected to the national grid, while of the estimated at 17,520 megawatts (MW), of latent and suppressed demand, only 5,300MW are available at peak generation capability.
But Dipeolu argued that power is improving steadily in generation and transmission, even as he admitted that distribution is still a big challenge, as that is where the impact is being felt in homes and offices, adding that with current strides in off-grid power as well as investment in alternatives, there will be significant improvement.
“When you talk about generator cabal, yes, they may be there. But take Ariaria Market in Aba for example, when everybody gets their electricity from that gas plant that is supplying them, what would the generators then do? In other words, if we give the alternatives, there’s no mafia that can defeat an alternative that is cheaper, once that alternative is on ground,” he insisted.
Similarly, he said once the various railway projects the mafias as he preferred to call them would cease to exercise absolute powers, noting that the problem of the truck mafias dates back to the 1960s. “So if you keep worrying about cabals that are more than 30, 40 years old, you won’t get anywhere.”He agreed there is a need for the government to step up on the execution and implementation of these projects especially infrastructure development.