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One of the most visible challenges we face as a nation is power problem. The sector is so important to us because, it is the fulcrum that coordinates other sectors for national development! No nation on earth can grow without the the constant supply of electricity. Nigeria is where it is today, because, no previous regime was able to challenge and defeat that sector which has become a national headache to all Nigerians. Youth unemployment is burgeoning in the country, because, companies who ought to employ them are leaving the Nigeria for other countries where there is constant supply of electricity. According to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, more than 800 companies left the country last year alone. These were companies who are supposed to employ our graduates, pay tax to the government, and add values to our economy. With about 20 million graduates roaming the streets without job, coupled with the number our tertiary institutions are

churning-out every year, Nigerians can not afford the luxury of playing politics with the new electricity tariff, if that is our only glimmer of hope to constant supply of electricity and reducing the alarming rate of youth unemployment in the country. The outcome of the last meeting of the National Economic Council, chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo, was widely reported by our media organisations. All members of the council unanimously endorsed the new power plan. In the said plan known as Multi-Year Tariff Order 2 (MYTO-2), low electrity consumers will pay little, while the bills of heavy consumers like manufacturers will be higher. For years now, this has been one of the problems we face in the country, because, often times, both the heavy and small users pay almost the same thing! But, with the new tariff in-place, investors will be keen in committing their resources in to the sector. This is because, one of the reasons why Nigerians have

not been enjoying constant power supply, is because, both the former and the current billing system have not been very attractive to investors who may want to invest in the sector. This hypothesis was proved by the inability of about 25 companies who were issued licences by the Federal Government to invest in the sector, but, up-to-date, there is nothing to show. Part of their excuse is that, the current tariff is too low for them to commit their huge resources in to the sector. Investment in the power sector is capital intensive, therefore, there must be a realistic time frame for investors to recoup their huge investment. Other good points in the council's resolution are the issues of subsidising electricity consuption for the poor urban and rural dwellers for the next two years. While, electricty metering facilities will be distributed to electricity consumers within the next 18 months free of charge, access to energy bulbs that will reduce cost

consuption by 40 percent will be made available to Nigerians. This new policy will instil the culture of efficiency and demanding value for money on Nigerians. Nevertheless, with the removal of the power distribution right from the exclusive list to the concurent list, both the state and the federal government should ensure that about 2000 communities in the country who are yet to be electrified, should also be electrified, so that every Nigerian, irrespective of where he or she lives can enjoy the same thing people in towns and cities are enjoying. New investors coming to invest in the sebtor should endeavor to invest in renewable energy, as scientific evidence has shown that global warming is mostly caused by the burning of fossil fuel, which constitues most of our existing power plants in thd country. Iam Edwin Ekene U, National President of Young Nigerians for Change. No. 29, Ben Mbamalu Crescent, Achara Layout Enugu State.

07065862479. [email protected]

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Articles by Edwin Uhara