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Nigeria has overtaken the Democratic Republic of Congo with 25 per cent of people without access to electricity, making it the highest country globally with citizens that lack access to power.

This was revealed by the World Bank Group officials during a virtual engagement with power reporters in Abuja, on the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP).

“Nigeria now has the largest number of unelectrified people globally and the trend is worsening; of the electrified, the supply is very unreliable with widespread blackouts”, a presentation from the group said.

According to the group, electrification which was growing at 1.1 per cent yearly since 2010 has not kept pace with population growth of 3 per cent every year.

The World Bank noted that this has increased the deficit by 3 million people to 85 million, which is 57 per cent of the population.

“Nigeria now has 25% more unelectrified people than the 2nd most unelectrified country (DRC – in absolute terms). For the bottom, 40% of the population (mostly rural), access to grid electricity is even lower at about 31% nationwide. Regionally, only south-west has access of over 50% (except Kano),” it further said.

Commenting, Ashish Khanna, WBG Practice Manager, West and Central Africa Energy, who presented the document, said:

“The power sector is operationally inefficient with unreliable supply exacerbated by high losses and lack of payment discipline.

“Businesses in Nigeria lose about $29 billion annually because of unreliable electricity while Nigerian utilities get paid for only a half of electricity they receive.”

The bank also said 80 per cent of grid connected households have six or fewer hours of electricity per day, while 40 per cent of those who have access to power rely on offgrid means like generators and solar power plants.

However, the bank said the PSRP intervention is helping to change the narrative.

The WBG disclosed that it approved $1.25 billion between June 2020 and February 2021 to reset the power sector.

The bank also said to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030, Nigeria will need to connect over 1 million households yearly while devising means to ensure consumers pay for the electricity consumed.

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