The World Bank has said that 43 percent of Nigeria’s population do not have access to electricity, making it the largest energy access deficit country globally.
The bank noted that the lack of power is a constraint for citizens and their businesses, adding Nigeria’s economic cost of power shortages is estimated at $26.2 billion. This is equivalent to about 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
However, under its distribution sector recovery program (DISREP), the bank approved $500 million to support Nigeria in improving operations of electricity distribution companies (DisCos).
This project will help boost electricity access by improving performance DisCos through large-scale metering program. The statement, quoting the 2020 World Bank doing business report, indicated that Nigeria ranks 171 out of 190 countries in getting electricity.
Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank’s country director, said: “The operation will help improve the financial viability of the discos and increase revenues for the whole Nigerian power sector, which is critical to save scarce fiscal resources and create jobs by increasing the productivity of private and public enterprises”.
“Specifically, it will ensure that DisCos make necessary investments to rehabilitate networks, install electric meters for more accurate customer billing and to improve quality of service for those already connected to the grid,” World Bank said.
“It will also help strengthen the financial and technical management of DisCos to improve the transparency and accountability of the distribution sector.”
Natalia Kulicjenko, World Bank’s task team leader for power sector recovery operation (PSRO) said: “The program will only be eligible to those DisCos that transparently declare their performance reports to public with actual flow of funds based on strict verification of achieved performance targets by an independent third party.
“The program would also make meters available at affordable prices to all consumers in Nigeria, a long pending demand of Nigerians”.
The World Bank further said DISREP will reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of Nigeria’s power sector by reducing technical losses, increasing energy efficiency, replacing diesel and biomass with grid-electricity, and investing more in on- and off-grid renewable energy.