The Minister of Power, Barth Nnaji has identified epileptic power supply in the country as one of the factors militating against the accomplishment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Professor Nnaji made the observation while speaking at the 2012 annual Herbert Macaulay Memorial Lecture organized by the Faculty of Engineering, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Enugu State recently.
Speaking on the topic, “Electricity Development and Achievement of Millennium Development and Goals,” the minister noted that modern development is hinged on power generation.
He stressed the need for proper electricity development in Nigeria to empower people, reduce poverty drastically, promote MDGs and accelerate the attainment of the post 2015 development agenda.
The United Nations had in 2010 identified the post 2015 Development Agenda as human rights, peace and security, environmental sustainability and an inclusive economic development.
According him, if Nigeria cannot achieve the goals by 2015 for any reason, the country should endeavour to succeed in the attainment of post 2015 goals, which the UN has set for humankind.
“Nigeria would certainly have fared better in the accomplishment of MDGs if not for, among other critical factors, the epileptic power supply,: he said, adding “the unemployed graduate, who took to hair salon business in a decrepit house would have done better in his self-employment if he had invested in his core business the funds used to acquire a modest generator and fuel it regularly”.
The same thing goes for the doctor who spends huge sums on acquiring expensive and big generators instead of investing in hospital equipment to save the lives of infants and expectant or nursing mothers and other patients”, Nnaji posted.
As he puts it, “if power supply had been good, the messenger in a government office who spends his resources to obtain “I-better-pass-my-neighbour generator and as a result does not have enough money to pay the daughters school fee would have had enough money to see all his children through school”.
The minister noted that had public electricity supply been efficient, there would have been less deforestation as more people would have been relying on electricity for cooking, rather than firewoods.
He pointed out that the Nigerian power sector has effectively and irreversibly headed in a new direction as it will soon be a new day for the Nigerian people, saying “the good news is that power supply has, in the last two weeks been increasing. We are getting close to the record 4,4000 megawatts we reached in January”.
He explained that by the end of the year, “we shall add a minimum of 1,000 MW and double whatever we have generated in national history by the end of 2013.