Nigeria needs a minimum of 150,000 megawatts of electricity in order to maximise productivity of the entire economy.
Toyin Dawod, managing partner, Capital Investment Group, a California, United States-based diversified investment company, said to achieve this, the country would need to localise the generation of electricity to make it more efficient.
Mr. Dawood said the standard in the world is one megawatt per thousand population. “And Nigeria has 150 million people,” he said in an email response to enquiries.
He added that the reason Nigeria was not working is because all power is concentrated in the federal government, instead of giving autonomy to the states, local authorities, the judiciary, the legislature, and other institutions.
“Our due diligence also tells us that the past attempts at resolving the power problems for Nigeria have not worked because we put emphasis on centralised power generation, instead of embracing distributive generation,” Mr. Dawood said.
He said there was need for a policy change that would transfer the authority to generate power to each state and locality, because the local governments can do a better job of providing for their own people under proper supervision of the federal government.
President Goodluck Jonathan, last month, launched the power reform agenda, which includes giving the private sector more participation in the generation and distribution of power. This was followed with the inauguration of a new board of the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) that would oversee the activities of operators in the power sector.
Barth Nnaji, the chairman of the presidential task force on power, said recently that Nigeria would require about $5 billion annually over the next 10 years in order to achieve stable power supply.
Mr. Nnaji said the bulk of this amount would have to come from the private sector. He explained that the country was going to create an enabling environment for private participation in a sector that has been solely dominated by the government over the years.
Mr. Dawod is, however, skeptical about the preparedness of government to attract and retain foreign private investors in the sector.
“The federal government is trying to solve everyone’s problem when it can’t even solve its own problem. The problem with our government is that they believe that Nigerians are so dumb. I believe different. I believe that individual Nigerians are smart enough to solve their own problems, if only the government will leave them alone,” he said.
He said the strategy of his firm was to build power plants for Nigerians, create employment for Nigerians, and transfer technology and management to Nigerians. His company, he said, was already involved in building power plants in America and other parts of the world.
“I am an entrepreneur. My job is to bring the factors of production together and create a viable business. Our plan can create a minimum of 40,000 jobs over the next two years and a multiplier effect of another 400,000 jobs,” Mr. Dawood further said.
According to him, Nigeria is yet to reach its full potential due to the shortfall in power supply. “Our country is being stymied by lack of vision on the part of the so called leaders. The government is happy to announce to the world that Nigeria recorded a growth of 7.9% so far this year. Can you imagine what our growth will be if we have 24/7 electricity?”
He said with optimum electricity supply, Nigeria is capable of achieving 16 percent growth in GDP, which would translate to additional $36 billion in GDP output.
“Shouldn’t we then make power generation a priority, including declaring a state of emergency to generate power as fast as we can? That is what our plan calls for,” he said.