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The price of darkness(4)

That there is pervasive poverty and destitution in Nigeria is an uncontested truism. Invariably, no one would deny that the level of destitution has been increasing at exponential rate, while the authorities are sitting pretty on their hands and watching such absurdity with little or no concern. Even when there is any sign of official concern, it has been more of palliative words rather than concrete actions. Fact remains that Nigerian cities and towns increasingly resemble prehistoric settlements where life has become nasty, brutish and short.
This state of affairs is because the pace of social and economic activities is worryingly grinding to screeching halt. Presently, the situation is like everyone to him/herself, God for us all. From look of things, it would be difficult to convince any first time visitor, that Nigeria has an organised administration that puts the interests of the citizens above all other petty and parochial considerations. Notwithstanding, it would be wrong to place the present dysfunctional state of things solely at the doorsteps of the present government.
Rather, the ghastly state of the economy has been long in the making, especially when it is realised that successive military and civilian administrations paid little or no attention at providing the country with enough and adequate power infrastructure to kick-start an industrial revolution that would have seen Nigeria arriving into the modern age. Today, Nigeria’s entire power infrastructure has not only become creaky and dilapidated, ironically it is the sole reason for the massive de-industrialisation of the country.
Any keen observer of the economy would readily notice the alarming rate at which industries; factories and other businesses are closing down and leaving for other countries with stable power supply. Surprising is that many of them end up setting up shop just across the borders from where their finished products are brought into to Nigeria for sale. It is a case of neighbours gaining what we lost through default, negligence, incompetence and lack of foresight. The consequence of this long-term neglect in building enough critical mass in the power sector is been the increasing unemployment among the youth and other able-bodied Nigerians.
For example, the 2016 ‘World Bank Report on Nigeria’ identified the lack of electricity as one of the reasons why unemployment is high and why multinationals are leaving the country. According to it, industry being a core sector for the generation of national wealth and employment has been faced with an electricity sector hampered by poorly utilised generation capacity, thereby forcing companies to turn to self provision of electricity.
It further stated that this raises their production costs, reducing their competitiveness and thus demand for labour.  Not surprising is that the same problem continues to plague many local companies which could not cope with the high cost of running electric plants/generators all the time, and were thus forced to close down and throw their employees into the labour market.
The same goes for self-employed Nigerians like welders, artisans, mechanics, hairdressers,’ tailors etc, who require constant power for their jobs. The lack or absence of this critical input factor has forced millions of them into unemployment, as they cannot afford the high costs of running constantly on generators. It is a fact that power supply is a critical production input that must be addressed to solve unemployment in the country. Therefore, it is otiose on the authorities to give urgent attention to improving power generation and supply to the industrial sector.

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