The Managing Director of Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), Olufunke Osibodu, has urged Nigerians not to expect any improvement in the power sector in the next five years.
Osibodu, made the disclosure while addressing delegates at an event that was held at the American University of Nigeria in Yola.
According to her, about N250 billion ($793 million) is required annually to fix the country’s power sector.
In her words: “And we Nigerians need to understand that we cannot do it overnight, and in addition, we have to pay for it,” she stated this while delivering the keynote speech titled ‘Beyond Oil: Sustainable Development for All Nigerians.’’
BEDC boss also advised Nigerians to allow time to resolve issues and to be patient.
She said: “As Nigerians, often we are the ones that deceive our politicians. The politicians believe that the only way to go is to promise everything immediately possible. Promise that everything is possible today so that they can get elected. But when you see that it is not, so we want to give them time and use time as our friends.”
“It is the same story for the power industry. When I tell my friends that [they need to] forget any improvement for the next five years, they are scared, but that is the truth. We need [a] minimum of five years to invest before we see results.
“But very often, because Nigerians are impatient, we start pushing our governments and they start reversing good things they have done in various ways. So we need to be more patient.”
In her speech, she said that Nigeria is currently producing 2% of the total electricity it requires.
She stated, “in this country, we have 32 million household population. In other words, 32 million houses by statistics. But on the national grid, only four million are officially customers of the various distribution companies.”
Osibodu further disclosed that about 36% of the power generation is lost either through commercial theft, illegal consumption, or non-payment of bills. However, 14% of that power is also lost through a very poor network.
“In other words, the 2% that we have is even further played down. About 30% of the power, we all waste it, by forgetting to put out the light, many things that should not be turned on, and we pay for that wastage,” she stated.