The Federal Government has sharply disagreed with the World Bank over the state of power supply in Nigeria.
While the World Bank claimed that 78% of power consumers in Nigeria get less than 12 hours of daily supply of electricity, the Federal that figure is 55%.
The World Bank had last week told journalists that Nigeria now has the largest number of people without electricity in the world, saying every one in ten without access to electricity now resides in Nigeria.
The Bank also stated that power sector has not been able to keep up with demand or provide reliable supply to existing customers.
“Only 51% of installed capacity is available for generation. An every Nigerian consumes four times less energy than her counterpart in typically lower middle-income country. Businesses in Nigeria lose about $29 billion annually because of unreliable electricity”, the Bank stated.
Reacting to the report, however, the Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, Mr. Ahmad Rufai Zakari, said it is unclear what empirical evidence the World Bank used to arrive at the figures, insisting that power distribution to consumers is steadily improving.
Responding to the Power Sector Recovery Programme Opinion Research Fact Sheet released by the World Bank, Zakari said it is inaccurate to make a blanket statement that 78% of Nigerians have less than 12 hours daily access, arguing that empirical evidence from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) shows that only 55% of citizens connected to the grid are in tariff bands D and E which are less than 12 hours supply.
“It is inaccurate to make a blanket statement that 78% of Nigerians have less than 12 hours daily access. The data from NERC is that 55% of citizens connected to the grid are in tariff bands D and E which are less than 12 hours supply. Those citizens are being fully subsidized to pre-September 2020 tariffs until DIsCOs are able to improve supply. There is a N120 billion CAPEX fund from CBN for DIsCOs to improve infrastructure for these tariff classes similar to the metering program that is ongoing,” Zakari said.
Zakari also kicked against aspects of the World Bank report which claimed that 58 percent of electricity consumers in the country do not have meters to measure electricity use, dismissing the data as unverifiable.
According to him, “It is unclear who did this survey and what the timeframe is. All citizens that have gotten free meters report they are happy about the reform trajectory. To date more than 600k meters have been delivered to DisCos out of the one million in phase 0 with installation ongoing. Meters are sourced locally and are creating jobs in installation and manufacturing/assembly.”
Zakari clarified that the Service Based Tariff ensures that citizens pay more only when and if they are receiving high quality of service.
“All consumers have been communicated their bands and bands are published during billing. It is inconceivable that anyone would imply that 4 out of 5 Nigerians are not intelligent enough to understand tariff classes and what they are paying for,” he explained.
The Adviser on Infrastructure said his office enjoyed a robust working relationship with the World Bank and was therefore surprised that such a report would be released without input of other critical stakeholders.
“We have a good working relationship with the Bank but metrics around the Nigerian Power Sector will come from the Ministry of Power, NERC, the Central Bank also regularly publishes intervention data. The Presidential Power Sector Reform Coordination Working Group also supports data access from the relevant agencies. It is uncommon to publish such data without the right consultation, fact checking and context”, he added.