Friday, December 31, 2010

Le progrès, c'est chic

What is currently wrong with Nigeria and my thoughts on possible effective solution(s) to address the problem. December 31, 2010 update. By Tosin Otitoju.

The people of Nigeria have prioritized three action areas for our leadership to pursue:
1. Electric Power
The current administration aims to attract foreign investment to the power sector. The plan is laudable, but the reform should be led by an expert at deregulation, who is wholly committed to fairness (hint: Ndukwe over Nnaji). Also, the insistence on a transmission monopoly is wrongheaded; please liberalize everything.
2. Better Government
At the national level, Nigeria needs a technocracy – leadership by those with know-how. At the local and state level too, the quality of candidates must rise. Good people (such as yourself) must offer themselves for service.
To destroy the corrupt culture, known looters must be punished. We must commit to anti-fraud practices, such as service automation, forensic accounting, and public oversight.
3. Job creation
To create jobs, we need more risk-takers over job-seekers. They must be provided with capital, often micro-capital. We need access to overseas markets, and better transport and communication networks for local trade. Our education must give effective preparation.

My 2008 essay highlighted some problem areas. Since that time, many programs sprouted to train youth for leadership and entrepreneurship, and Lagos State Government massively improved that city. On the other hand, corruption remains an issue, and religion remains a source of deadly conflict. The arts flower tentatively, with recent successes in film, music, festival, and literary production. Civil society is awakening; citizens stage the occasional protest, only to find that their voices DO count.

As black people, we will continue to define success on our terms: rooted in universal principles, founded on a sense of our history, and in harmony with other cultures. Our quest for a better society will find us copying success stories, for example, an African Union patterned after the European Union; Institutes like the IITs that produced the high-tech workforce of India; press freedom and open government as in Scandinavia; and sovereign wealth management as in the Arabian Gulf. At other times we will walk our own path, for example: doctors favoring homeopathy, legislators working part-time, engineers for reforestation, agricultural chic, and Imams for Jesus.

3 comments:

t said...

References:
May 2008 essay

Other Essays on Nigeria Solutions

Obama's July 2009 Speech in Ghana

t said...

No to transmission monopoly:
The current power roadmap will have us privatize generation and distribution and manage transmission in-house. If I was an investor, I'd rather build my own transmission infrastructure (duplicate) than throw my money away by trusting that transmission will be there for me. If we start with competing transmission links, in the long run, the network will be rationalized through trading. If we start with one transmission link, it is extremely likely to be the bottleneck in the whole national power system.
References:
1. Arguing for monopoly:
Indian technocrat: Transmission is a natural monopoly, but he also identifies demand-supply gap considerations. China which presumably had competing transmission providers, had to restructure down to two companies.
2. BPE boss in Nigeria: Will be uneconomic to ask every operator to build its own network but NESCO has worked well in spite of having built its own network.

Arguing against monopoly:
Academic report: Questions the natural monopoly of transmission as well as the requirements of existence, profitability, and efficiency of a transmission market. So much grammar, but it squares with my intuition.

2. Nigerian administrator: With such an atomized approach and the insistence on a public sector transmission monopoly company whom are we trying to attract? We know how dismally public sector parastatals have performed over the past four decades. Exactly. In particular, NEPA/PHCN has received the "investment" to generate (assuming 1bn USD per 1000MW) tens of thousands of megawatts in 2000-2010, but what happened? Were existing plants maintained, even? Or what is the state of our transformers and transmission lines?

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