Electricity generation companies, (GENCOs), say they are confident that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement will improve electricity supply and boost intra-Africa trade among African countries from the current 16 percent to about 60 percent.
Executive Secretary of the APGC, Mrs Joy Ogaji, said in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja that the AfCFTA Agreement signed last Sunday in Niamey, Niger Republic, by all heads of government of the African Union will boost power generation and supply in the continent.
Under the aegis of the Association of the Power Generation Companies (APGC), the companies said the due diligence conducted prior to the agreement and the corresponding cohesion with several interest groups have assured the operators of a conducive operational environment.
Apart from increased intra-African trade, Ogaji identified other potential benefits of the agreements to the Nigerian economy to include cheaper exports and elimination of quota system.
“Under the agreement, there will be no quota system; trade will be conducted according to trading capacity; exports of goods and services will be cheaper, leading to more competitive pricing,” she said, adding that Nigerians will enjoy easier entry (and exit) from other markets leading to significant boost in trade, and the economy.
She added that the new agreement presents Nigeria the opportunity to play a more active role in both the regional and global economy, stressing that the actualization of this potential is largely predicated on the degree to which the country can achieve industrial development as an enabler for long-term sustainable growth and poverty reduction.
Given the critical role adequate power supply plays in the development of a nation she said government has a responsibility to pay particular attention.
“The critical role of power as a veritable physical infrastructural tool for economic growth, industrialisation and development cannot be over-emphasized. The availability of adequate power supply is directly proportional to the associated extensive technology-based development in the production and manufacturing sector,” she said.
She expressed the fear that the benefits of the AfCFTA agreement to Nigeria may not be fully realised until the problems of the power sector are fully addressed and urged government to demonstrate a renewed zeal towards solving the power sector problems to reposition Nigeria amongst the leading industrializing countries
“Nigeria’s potential to become one of the world’s largest economies will remain just an aspiration without the electricity required to pursue aggressive industrialisation, including the revitalisation of moribund local industries,” Ogaji stated.
She further called for enforceable regulations underpinned by best industry practices focused on solving the hurdles to effective and efficient generation, transmission and distribution of power in Nigeria.