In order to allay the fears of those who feel that the poor state of power supply in Nigeria is a threat to the effectiveness of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in the country, the Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Usman Mohammed, has disclosed what should be done to solve the deteriorating state of power supply.
The solution to poor power supply: Electricity supply has remained epileptic in Nigeria due to the lack of constant investment in the power sector by the Distribution Companies (DisCos), and according to Mohammed, this has affected the utilisation level of the TCN’s installations.
While speaking during an inspection of TCN’s facilities in Kano, Mohammed said the Distribution Companies should be recapitalised for proper efficiency, arguing that without recapitalisation, Distribution Companies can’t rehabilitate their existing network.
“We have proposed the recapitalisation of the Discos. That is where we believe the improvement in the Power sector lies. We are calling on all Nigerians to clamour for the recapitalisation of the DisCos. If they are not recapitalised, there is no way they can rehabilitate their existing network.
“So, you can see that two feeders here are out because the feeders are weak. Therefore, any time there is rain, those feeders cannot function.
“The reason they cannot function is that they were not rehabilitated. This is what TCN is pushing for Discos to do.
“On the capacity of power in the nation, TCN is working hard. We have not solved all of our problems. So, anywhere we have problems, we have solutions to them. “We are discouraging redundancy across the country and we have achieved a certain level of control over our frequency. We have a spinning reserve with a road network and we are doing all our best to make it work. We have a roadmap which we are following religiously.”
He added that, “In Kano, I have discovered that most of the transformers, especially the one in Dakata area of the metropolis, are underutilised. Sometimes, you hear that TCN is not supplying DisCos with adequate electricity for distribution. In reality, it is not true.
“If you look at the transformers in Dakata, which are 60 KV, you can see they are idle, apart from the one in the middle. None of them is taking maximum loads.
“One of the things we need to propagate is to ask the DisCos to invest in their network so that they will be able to take enough loads. As you can see, the implementation of transmission and rehabilitation that we are embarking upon is on course and everything is moving fine.”
Mohammed said, “In this sub-station at Dakata, you can see that we have 30 MVA, but we are going to replace it with 60 MVA. We are through with the procurement and the installation has reached an advanced stage.
“So, the line from Kumbotso to Dakata would be re-conducted to put high capacity of the conductor so that it can carry twice the current capacity. So, this is what TCN is embarking upon to boost electricity to the DisCos.
“With all these efforts from our side without commensurate investment by the DisCos, Nigerians would not feel the investment we are putting in place to improve the distribution and supply of electricity to them. That is why we are asking you journalists to enlighten them to invest.”
According to Mohammed, TCN is working towards ensuring effective power distribution and supply by the DisCos through rehabilitation, replacement and adequate maintenance of its facilities across the country.
Power threatens AfCFTA: Nigeria’s economic growth has been sluggish for years, with the private sector operators finding it difficult to operate in the business environment. One of the major factors that have been highlighted by small, medium and large corporations is the poor level of power supply in the country.
To solve this problem, business owners often resort to spending millions of naira every month to generate their own electricity. This, therefore, contributes to the cost of doing business, and it will reflect in the production of goods and service when the AfCFTA fully takes effect in Africa. It could rob Nigerian companies of profits as their goods are likely to be snubbed for cheaper alternatives from other African countries.
In a statement congratulating President Muhammadu Buhari on signing the trade agreement, the electricity companies, under the aegis of the Association of the Power Generation Companies, warned that the poor power supply in the country will deprive Nigeria of the benefits of AfCFTA.
The group said Nigerian companies won’t reap the full potential of the single market “until the problems of the power sector are fully addressed.”