The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL finds the statement credited to Mr. Raji Fashola that lack of adequate electricity in Nigeria cannot be responsible for the country’s slow-paced industrial, or drop in levels of her economic growth as illogical and insensitive to the sufferings of Nigerians.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing in a recent meeting with civil society groups to review the contents and implications of Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) initiated by the Federal Government with support from the World Bank claimed that the inadequate supply of electricity power cannot be held responsible for the company’s inability to climb out of economic doldrums and slow paced industrialization. This is not only a pathetic assertion but also a cruel and criminal justification of the conscious de-industrialisation policy of the hawks in our ruling class.
The first point to note is that the country has committed a huge investment into the power sector yet there is no commensurate out-put. Contemporary African nations like Ghana, Angola and South Africa spent much less on power sector yet their citizens enjoy un-interrupted power supply. This is the reason why these countries are preferred destination points for direct foreign investment. Yet, our ruling class indulges in ludicrous justifications on why we cannot take elusive flight to become industrialised nation. Industrialisation is advanced economic phase in civilization which requires higher apprehension than the semi-feudal, lumpen-market trader economic culture that the ruling elite are foisting on the country. No wonder the easy resort to uncouth social stratification and political climate in Nigeria.
The other critical issue is that in Nigeria, neo-liberal financial institutions like the World Bank are imposing economic systems on us that stultify growth by ensuring that the vast Nigerian market remains a perpetual dumping ground for finished industrial goods from foreign western countries. Tragically, triple Minister Fashola who strongly adheres to the neo-liberal schemes of these financial agencies that are fully beneficial to foreign industrial nations but injurious to our ailing economy. The policy that government has no business in business, in providing social infrastructural facilities like health, pipe-borne water, education, roads, etc for its people.
Fashola does not only regurgitate this neo-liberal ideological platitudes, he put them into full blown practice while he served as Governor in Lagos State, he commercialized all public infrastructure, hospitals, schools, roads with toll gates just as he is planning to bring same on federal roads with the so-called public-private sector partnership.Thus, his lame claim and deliberate castration of the power sector from taking off is just in total sync with his character of serving foreign master while Nigeria bleeds. Nigeria warehouse different types of consumer goods and industrial ones from countries with lesser human and material resources like Japan, China, India, Brazil, and from Asia!
The Minister claims that the power generating companies GENCO produces 7000 megawatts of electricity while the distribution companies DISCOS distributes 5000 megawatts leaving an unused 2000 megawatts supply of electricity which could have been used for our industrialisation. Sometimes when one lies through both side of his/her mouth, many times only empty airs would be constructed as words. The reality is that if there are sufficient generation and distribution, why is most of our communities still battling with epileptic power supplies? The naked reality is that many of Nigeria industries have folded up or wound down their operations because of the high cost of operations occasioned by the fact that they have to independently provide their power supplies. Many of these companies have relocated to neighbouring countries like Ghana even Togo.
A corollary factor for industrialisation is the dire need for constant research and development of new product. No serious research institution can function well without twenty four hours uninterrupted power supply especially industrial research centres. There is no single industrial research institution in the country that is doing justice to its areas of thematic focus because of the problem with power supply. There are legions of instances where other nations have taken some of our agricultural products like cocoa, perm-kernel etc to their research institutes and refined them into commercial gold products. For elements like our Minister with three portfolios, it is better for our cassava to be processed in China while open the flood gate of our country to cheap, cheap industrial goods from this same countries.
As state earlier, constant, un-interrupted power supply, industrialisation and civilization walk together. It is our inability to get our right on this note that makes the ruling elites to seek medical treatments outside the shores of Nigeria; send their children to schools in other countries, shop for their wares in foreign and spend their holidays in industrialised nations. It reflects the fact that they are aware that without power supply Nigeria is still in dark ages. Yet, Mr. Fashola has the effrontery to rub it in our nose.
The statement credited to the Minister clearly vindicates of position that President Muhammed Buhari ought to sack him for his cluelessness, ineffectiveness and overall poor performance in the three ministries he superintend over. Fashola should be replaced a person who will be effective, creative and sensitive to the sensibilities of patriotic Nigerians and who demonstrate a firm commitment to address the deficit in the country’s power supply.
Executive Chairman, CACOL
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