Fashola: Why Nigeria Lags Behind S/Africa in Energy Generation, Usage
By Dele Ogbodo
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, has said Nigeria though more highly populated than South Africa, lags behind her in energy generation and usage because Nigeria is largely a trading nation, while S/Africa is a mining and industrialized country.
Addressing a stakeholders conference made up of civil society organizations covering the power sector reform programme partly financed by the World Bank, in Abuja, he said the amount of power a country needs is dependent on its level of development, industrialization and nature of economy.
The minister said: “Comparing Nigeria to South Africa, I think the amount of power that any nation needs is not just a function of its population, it is also a function of the use and the level of development and industrialization of its economy. “For instance, the Ashaka cement in Gombe town uses 15MW as big as it is. So, how many Ashakas, industrial cement of that type do we have in the country. So, if you divide 40,000 by 15MW which is one industrial town alone, you will get 2,500, do we have 2,500 industrial town in Nigeria?
“Manufacturing economies, research and invention driven economies may necessary consume more power, South Africa is a mining economy and mines consume a lot of power. Nigeria has left mining, except oil and gas and the Minister, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is just trying now to reset us back and we are preparing to support their mining power demand whenever they are ready.
According to him, Nigeria’s economy is largely trading while South Africa is already producing nuclear energy, aircraft, military hardware. They will need more power, stressing that the analogy that South Africa produces more does not make sense.
“As at December 2016, Rwanda, had 208MW, barely half of what Abuja DISCO use, Niger Republic is running on 80MW, Republic of Togo 200MW, Ghana is about 3000MW of installed capacity and they are not fully producing all of that.
“Lagos alone is 1000MW, which is just one state in the country, and so we need to understand the dynamics and so Nigeria is exporting power too to Niger, to Republic of Benin, to Togo and we are selling gas to the West African sub region, so we should stop putting Nigeria down. We are a great country, we have challenges, let us go and deal with them together.”