A Bill seeking to ban the use of generators in Nigeria has passed the first reading in Nigerian senate. The Bill which is entitled, Generating Set (Prohibition/Ban) Bill 2020 is sponsored by Senator Muhammad Bima Enagi representing Niger South senatorial district.
The Bill was a subject of deliberation in the senate’s plenary on Wednesday, seeking to prohibit the importation of power generators and their use in Nigeria, except for essential areas like medical services, Aviation, Railway, escalator, Research institute and other services that require 24 hours power supply..
2. Generating Set (Prohibition/Ban) Bill, 2020 (SB. 366) by Senator Bima Enagi.
Generating Set (Prohibition/Ban) Bill, 2020 (SB. 366) is read the First Time.
— The Nigerian Senate (@NGRSenate) March 11, 2020
According to the bill, anyone who imports or engages in generator sales venture shall be guilty of an offense and will be liable on conviction to a term not less than 10 years imprisonment.
Below is the excerpt of the Bill.
A BILL FOR AN ACT TO PROHIBIT/BAN THE IMPORTATION USE OF GENERATING SETS TO CURB THE MENACE OF ENVIRONMENTAL (AIR) POLLUTION AND TO FACILITATE THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE POWER SECTOR
Sponsor: Senator Bima, Muhammad Enagi (NigerSouth Senatorial District)
ENACTED By the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Prohibition/Ban on importation generating sets
Any person who
- a) Imports generating sets; or
(b) Knowingly sells generating sets shall be guilty of an offence and be liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not less than ten years.
Provided that this subsection shall not apply to the importation or sale of any generating set to be used for essential services.
Ban Excludes Essential services
(3) The ban/prohibition of generating sets shall not include generating sets used for essential services which include:
(i) Medical purposes (hospitals and nursing homes and healthcare facilities), (ii) Airports,
(iii) Railway stations/services,
(iv) Elevators (lifts)
(vi) Research Institutions, and
(-vii) such facilities that require 24 hours electric power supply:
(b) Approval for exclusion shall be obtained from the Minister in charge of Power who shall brief the Federal Executive Council quarterly on approvals granted.
Ban on Use
All persons are hereby directed to stop the use of electricity generating sets which run on diesel/petroI/kerosene of all capacities with immediate effect in the country.
Meaning of Generating Sets In this “Bill” generating set (Generator) meansA machine that is used for producing electricity.
This Bill may be cited as the Generating Sets (Prohibition/Ban) Bill, 2020.
This Bill seeks to ban the importation and use of generating sets (generators) in the country and to curb the menace of environmental pollution which leads to potential health hazards it poses to the whole nation.
Reactions to this development have been scornful. Nigeria depends mainly on power generators to facilitate services that need electricity: From private businesses to public offices, the functionality of machines and work tools has been powered by generators.
In a country barely generating over 3,000 megawatts of power, it is baffling to the people that the lawmakers would come with such a bill. In the 2019 budget, the 1, 358 generator-related expenses gulped millions of naira. So far in 2020, about N49 million has been spent running generator-related services for Aso Rock and its environs, and there is no end in sight since power generation keeps fluctuating and dropping low year after year.
Though the alibi for the bill is to curb the menace of environmental pollution, Senator Muhammad Enagi did not offer provisional alternative that will alleviate the economic losses the Bill will cause if it becomes an Act. Moreover, Nigerians are saying that vehicles are also major contributors of air pollution, but the senate has thrown the bill to for electric vehicles out, saying it would hurt the oil industry.
The sustainability of industries in Nigeria has depended on generators. Without a choice, many companies are running generators around the clock: from banks to the printing press to a barbing salon, even the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) depends on generators for their offices’ electricity supply.
On average, Nigerian businesses spend N3,000 ($9) daily fueling generators, a bill they really don’t like paying but have no choice. In 2019, Nigerians spent a staggering $12 billion on generator-related expenses and it’s not something to be proud of.
In many states in Nigeria, street lights are powered by generators, as it is with every other development that needs electricity to function.
Dissenting voices have called on the senate and the federal government to prioritize providing Nigeria with steady power supply instead of spending time trying to aggravate an already bad situation. They said the importation and use of generators will stop voluntarily when there is constant electricity.