The inadequate supply of electricity is not the reason why the country’s economy is not growing, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said.
According to Fashola, experts who attribute the slow growth of Nigeria’s economy to power supply challenges make such arguments without facts and are not correct.
This is coming as he directed power distribution companies to find ways of collecting the outstanding debts owed them by public sector organisations from state governments, adding that the Federal Government had verified and given approval for the payment of its own portion of the claims.
The minister stated these at a civil society engagement workshop on the Power Sector Recovery Programme in Abuja on Wednesday evening.
Fashola said, “We hear all our so-called experts who say (non-availability of) power is why the economy of Nigeria is not growing. That is not factual and it is not correct. At the time when we had less power in 2013 and 2014, the economy of this country was growing at seven per cent per annum.
“We had less power then than we have now, but the economy was growing. So that is not an honest statement to make. It is not an honest statement at all. That is not the reason. Power will clearly contribute to the growth but power is not the reason why the economy is not growing.”
He further argued that some industrialised nations of the world were still faced with power supply problems, stressing that Nigeria was importing goods from such countries.
Fashola stated, “I have also heard of the need for industrialisation and yes, that’s true. But there are nations that haven’t solved their power problems and are industrialised faster than us, and who are solving them and industrialising at the same time. Today, we import things from India; all of India is not powered.
“So, let us stop repeating the stories that we have been told and get more current information about what is happening. We know that the industries are not getting enough power, but the correct statement is not because there is no power. The reality is that we have 7,000MW and we are selling 5,000MW.