Even as the Nigerian federal government and the Nigerian nation at large is currently preparing for a post-covid-19 realities joining other nations of the world steer its internal arrangement and administration after it has been hit by the onslaught of the outbreak of the novel virus, corona virus which saw to the death of thousands across the nation as well as the disruption of public lives of the people as the lockdown rule made by the World Health Organization in order to curtail the spread of the virus in respective nations across the globe. Whatever policies or decisions made by the government of the respective nations of the world will go a long way in determining the socio-economic realities and financial stabilities of these nations.
For nations like Nigeria whose economic wits has been shaken by the result of the deadly virus Covid-19, there is a need for it to make policies and put in infrastructures that will go a long way in helping its populace to take on more developmental activities and entrepreneurial ventures that will see to it that the environment it creates is a society which is business friendly and growth encouraging.
As the World bank recently predicted that Nigeria is on a brink of another economic meltdown which might be its biggest in the last four years, it is quite understandable that the federal government of Nigeria will definitely be seeking for various ways to increase its Gross Domestic Income generation, however it must be careful less its various means employed to achieving this does not be the last straw which breaks the back of the Carmel.
The recent plan by the federal government and the disco to increase electricity tariff in Nigeria will in no progressive way aid the growth of the Nigerian small and medium scale business enterprise in the nation. The supply of light in Nigeria is of great importance to the growth of business in Nigeria. It is a vital factor that is needed for its populace to not only have it easy in their respective households but also important for the push of industrialization and the growth of entrepreneurial outfits in the nation.
The adoption of using the digital means of conducting and running businesses in Nigeria has further increased the need for a stable supply of electricity in the nation. There is no nation which intends to get its populace to adopt the use of information communication and technology to improve its business sector without providing adequate supply of power that will achieve its aim. While some may consider data as the soul of running digital businesses in the world, it is however important for me to correct this notion. The supply of electricity is of the topmost importance and can be considered the major fuel which allows the growth of business through the use of the tools of information communication and technology.
According to the various reports coming the major Nigerian recognized news outlets, there are various confirmed online media, it is being reported that the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari has finally approved the official implementation of the cost reflective tariffs for the Nigerian Electricity Supply industry and that the electricity distribution company has finally commenced the implantation of this order which has been signed by the president.
According to the details of the newly approved electricity tariff in Nigeria, there will be no alteration in the tariff of the most vulnerable people in the country as well as for the people who are using 50KW or less than this. Also it was stated that electricity consumers that are receiving less that twelve hours supply of electricity will not be affected by the new change in the electricity tariff in the nation.
Furthermore, it was also reported that the president has ordered that there should be a nationwide mass-metering program in order to put an abrupt end to the usual estimated and orthodox way of billing and metering electricity users who are without meters in the nation. He has also approved a waiver of the import levy on meters so that those that do not have meters can be supplied as early as possible at reasonable costs.
Critically examining this recent development, from a business perspective this move will not in any way ensure the adequate and the much needed growth needed for the small scale and medium scale enterprise in Nigeria. The federal government of Nigeria before it comes up with plans like this must ensure that there is adequate infrastructure in the Nigerian power sector that will see to it that there is a stable supply of power across the thirty-six states of the Nigerian federation.
Before the federal government of Nigerian must undergo or consider the hike of electricity in the country it must ensure that the consumers that is the users of electricity in Nigeria has value for what they are paying for. The federal government of Nigeria has failed in its duty and campaign promises of providing and ensuring that there is adequate power supply, and this must be their topmost concern and not the hike in electricity tariff in the nation. While it can be argued that the federal government as ordered by the president made certain exemption in the tariff structure by exempting the vulnerable and those who are enjoying or having light supply above 12 hours a day, it must be noted that while those who are outside this bracket especially the business ventures whose business solely depends on electricity, there will be a rise in their services and products as a result of this hike which will in the long run affect the consumers which are the masses.
The Nigerian economic working is a circular patterned one which when there is a factor affected, it also affects other components structure.
The small and medium scale enterprise in Nigeria has a very vital role to play in the re-stabilizing of the nation’s economy. The federal government must on their part ensure that they are doing the right thing in ensuring that there is a conducive environment for them to thrive and expand. The newly increased electricity tariff will in no way help or be beneficial to them. The federal government must instead ensure that it lays more emphasis on the need for it.
By Marcus Amudipe