General incompetence

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In 2018, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of Egypt arrived in the country’s New Administrative Capital to inaugurate three giant power plants built by the German company, Siemens, with a total capacity of 14,400 megawatts.

Built at a cost of 6 billion euros, or $7.2 billion, the project was completed in only 27.5 months or a little over 2 years and increased Egypt’s power generation potentials by more than 40 percent.

A similar project in Nigeria projected to cost $5.8 billion, with the potential to increase the country’s generation capacity by up to 40 percent is the Mambilla power project in Taraba State, which the Federal Government began in 1982 and remains uncompleted in 2019.

More than eight Nigerian presidents have come and gone, since the mega power project billed to generate up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity was conceptualised.

President Muhammadu Buhari was the only president among them to get two attempts to complete the project – first in 1983 as General Muhammadu Buhari and again in 2015 as a civilian President, yet it remains largely on the drawing board.

Across the country power projects remain non-operational for flimsy reasons.
Gas fired plants are built without gas pipelines to connect them to a power source, the National Independent Power Plants (NIPP) with combined 4,774 mw in capacity, long scheduled to be privatised remain in limbo.

Moving on to subsidies, Egypt recently raised the price of electricity by an average of 26 percent as part of reforms designed to overhaul the country’s economy.

In Nigeria the electricity sector is now probably bankrupt with Distribution Companies (DisCos) unable to fully pay for power they buy from Generation Companies (GenCos), due to non-cost reflective tariffs, and unwillingness of Government to raise electricity prices.

Today, the electricity sector privatised in …