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‘Spend to save,’ economist tells FG



An International Economist, Dr Olu Olasode, has called on the Nigerian Government to judiciously utilise the $486million fund approved by the World Bank to boost power sector development. 

Olasode, who is Managing Director of TL First Group, Monday, said the credit, which was granted to rehabilitate and upgrade the country’s electricity transmission subsector, will alleviate the current issues militating against the power sector in Nigeria. 

Responding to questions on the implications of rising debts, he said: “unlike many professional colleagues who are weary of debts, I have no problems with increasing your liabilities if the resulting growth in income, capital, assets or national wealth far outweighs the debts.  

In essence, it should be about spending to save through better infrastructure in electricity transmission that ultimately powers economic growth. 

According to Olasode, effective utilisation of the fund can benefit small scale business owners, and contribute to adequate and reliable electricity supply necessary for Nigeria’s continued economic development in effort to ease the infrastructure constraints these businesses currently face. 

He said electricity is a significant component of virtually any production process, as such, limited supply has the potential to, directly or indirectly; affect the economic productivity of businesses, adding, “an attendant effect is the closure of many enterprises in Nigeria in the last five years.” 

He argued that the Transmission Company of Nigeria can be better empowered to expand transmission network for efficient electricity supply.

“For instance, investment can be made into solar-powered light centres that help to increase social activity and productivity of communities by generating light after sundown.

“These light centres can be used to power medical equipment such as an ultrasound, or refrigerators that store vaccines at medical centres.

“Transmission also has a lot to do with logistics and planning; for example, how effectively can we aggregate and redistribute the many dispersed power generation by privately owned organisations?”

Olasode, however, expressed concern about the nation’s rising debt stock, especially during a period when the country’s socio-economic development continues to be plagued by a myriad of challenges.

He therefore urged Government to apply caution in contracting more debts, and identify innovative ways to mitigate the current portfolio. 

He equally suggested that government deploys available credit to facilitate economic growth, resolve security challenges across the regions, address development, generate employment, and reduce poverty.

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