Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The European Union on Tuesday announced that it had committed over €156.3m (N53.9bn at N344.88 to one euro) in different financing instruments in Nigeria’s power sector.
It, however, regretted that the country’s power sector was losing N1.3bn daily despite efforts by stakeholders to address the challenges in the industry.
Speaking at the Second Seminar for the Preparation of Performance Improvement Plans by the Nigerian electricity distribution companies, the Head of Trade and Economic Section of the EU Delegation, Filippo Amato, said the EU had scaled up its financial support for Nigeria’s power sector.
He said, “Over the past years, the European Union has considerably scaled up its support to the sector with over €156.3m committed in different financing instruments, ranging from traditional grants to blended finance. We have been able to fund different technical assistance and infrastructural projects cutting across several areas both on and off the grid here in Nigeria.”
Amato said the seminar, which held in Abuja, was designed by the French Development Agency and financed by the European Union with €2.3m, adding that it was implemented by the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors with the technical assistance of AF Mercados.
He said, “You will agree with me that since the first Performance Improvement Plan seminar that was held in March last year, the Nigerian electricity supply industry is still facing deterioration and the liquidity crisis is keeping the system under stress.
“Despite efforts made by all of you in tackling some of the key impediments to the development of the sector, the industry losses are still growing at a rate of at least N1.3bn per day and nowadays, the average operational capacity of the grid hovers around 4,500 megawatts and 5,500MW and cannot meet the needs of a growing population and industrial users.”
Amato said Nigeria still relied too much on off-grid diesel generators, which unfortunately were not costly but unsustainable from a climate change point of view.
According to him, power distributors have, by contract, a key role to play in making the distribution network work efficiently.
“This they are supposed to do by reducing their Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection losses. By so doing, they will be able to make good use of the available electricity from the grid to serve customers. This is one step in the right direction that Discos must take if we want to come out of this liquidity crisis that is affecting the sector,” the EU official stated.
He noted that the second seminar aimed at enhancing Discos’ strategic planning efforts provided modalities for the upcoming Performance Improvement Plan over the next five years.