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Frustration Tactics: The Off-Grid Electricity Solution That Is Gridlocked by Vested Interests

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On-grid power supply hasn’t brought the Nigerian populace the desired joy. With over 85 million of Nigeria’s population being presently underserved or unconnected to the power grid, approximately $14 billion is spent yearly on off-grid power – kerosene lantern, battery-powered torches, generating sets, and, most recently renewable alternative, solar. Unfortunately, just as the absence of cost-reflective tariff in providing on-grid power supply to Nigeria households has held back investors with significant investment funds, the off-grid and mini-grid alternatives have not been allowed to penetrate deeply to those who need them due to excessive customs duties at the point of clearance for panels, batteries and parts at Nigeria Ports. This is frustration tactics.

In 2018, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) increased duties on Solar panels and batteries used for alternative electricity supplies by operators from 5% to 10%. The impact was quickly felt. Prices of solar electricity at the consumption end rose by 100%. Brands such as ZOLA, Tre-Pad, Rubitec, Simba, Greenpower, Infinite, Wizard, and more were hampered in their push to make more off-grid and mini-grid electricity alternatives available to Nigerians.

The worst affected are villages, hinterland and slums around cities where those from the middle-lower to the last rung of the economic rung live. Cut off from the main grid entirely or financially hamstrung to afford the new price, these innocent citizens source of sure electricity supplies were yanked.

Just think about sweaty kids in barely lit homes infested by mosquitoes. The impact of regulatory policies can hit a home-run of hazard that the makers of such policies hardly ever feel. It is high time the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) thought about:

  1. (For NCS) The impacts of their frustration tactics on the future of children whose development could be severely impacted intellectually and health-wise by the FRUSTRATION TACTICS, whoever stands to gain
  2. REAN also need to rise up and coordinate a stronger forum that understood the use of PR to rouse Nigerians to the nepotistic and dictatorship nature of the policy-mill that is harming the penetration of off-grid and mini-grid electricity supplies to the ‘unfortunate’.

Toyin Afilaka
Toyin Afilaka writes with simplicity and insight. He has a PR and brand marketing background. He has worked previously at MarketingMix, IGW Entertainment (Germany), and BrandFootPrint. He managed the MTN Project Fame between 2012 and 2015. Toyin loves travelling, writing, reading; and he treasures integrity.

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