Ban to curtail generator importation faces strict resistance by Senate

A suggestion put forward by Senator Francis Fadahunsi, to enforce a five-year ban on generator importation has been rejected by the Nigerian Senate, according to Punch.

The Details: The suggestion was rejected after Senate President, Ahmed Lawan subjected the matter to a voice vote, while the house deliberated on a motion sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi.

The motion was on the need to address Nigeria’s electricity woes.

The Result: Failure of the lawmakers to accept the idea led the Senate to task its Committee on Power to look into the matter of erratic power supply in Nigeria. The Senate also tasked the committee to examine the activities of power generating and distribution companies in Nigeria.

Recent Developments: The decision to ban generator sets was once successful in 2015 when the Federal Government banned the importation of the most commonly used type of generating set in Nigeria popularly known as “I better pass my neighbour.”

According to the Comptroller, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federation Operations Unit Zone A, Lagos, Madugu Sanni Jubrin at the time, the reason for the ban was health-related.

The smaller generators have been banned by the Federal Government because it is causing air pollution and destruction of our lungs and breathing system,” he said.

Recently, in a Bloomberg report, it was disclosed that business owners and individuals in Nigeria spend about $12 billion fueling generators annually. Furthermore, it was disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s office was expected to spend N46 million in fueling generators in 2019 alone.

The report read in part, “To keep out the darkness, households own and operate an estimated 22 million small gasoline generators, whose combined generating capacity is eight times higher than on-grid supply, according to a June 2019 presentation by Dalberg, a global policy and advisory firm. Businesses and individuals spend about $12 billion a year, twice the country’s annual infrastructure budget, fueling these generators.”

Ban to curtail generator importation faces strict resistance by Senate 
Senator Francis Fadahunsi

What you should know: According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), lack of access to electricity and unreliable power supply are key constraints to doing business in Nigeria. The IMF estimated the annual economic loss at about $29 billion.

Similar to IMF’s stance, a 2014 World Bank survey disclosed that 27% of Nigerian firms identified electricity as the main obstacle to doing business. World Bank was also quoted to have stated that, “power outages and deficient power infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa had a measurable negative impact on economic growth over the period of 1995−2007.” 

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