The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association on Thursday said the Senate bill banning importation of generators would be inimical to the quality of lives of Nigerians and national development as a whole.
NECA’S Director-General, Timothy Olawale, who made this known in Lagos, said small and medium size businesses would be killed as almost all of them use generators in the operation of their businesses.
Olawale spoke while reacting to a bill for an act to criminalise the importation, selling and usage of generators by Nigerians.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the bill scaled the first reading on the floor of the Senate on March 11.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Birma Enagi from Niger State, prescribes 10-year jail term for importers and sellers of generators.
Olawale said: “It is no gainsaying that the nation is faced with serious energy challenges, which predates the privatisation of the power sector.
“While we agree with the imperative to protect Nigerians from environmental pollution and associated risk, we affirm that criminalising the importation and usage of generators is a crude and non-ingenious way to deal with a serious national issue.
“According to the International Monetary Fund, lack of access to electricity and unreliable power supply are key constraints to doing business in Nigeria.
“The IMF estimated the annual economic loss at about $29 billion.
“A knee-jack ban on the sale and use of generators without resolving the challenges in the power sector will further compound the challenges faced by businesses.”
The director general said that currently, the power sector lacked enough infrastructural facilities to guarantee power generation and efficient distribution by the distribution companies.
He, therefore, called for the legislation to focus on ensuring improved infrastructural development that would facilitate efficient distribution of power to the offices and homes of Nigerians.
Olawale said: “Government should focus on putting in place policies that will help in accelerating growth of the sector to make the importation and use of generators unattractive.
“It should also promote and encourage the use of alternative clean energy sources; a more strategic approach to national development will fast track the industrialisation and development of our nation.
“Nigerians should not be punished for the ineffectiveness and policy inconsistencies of successive governments.”
NECA is the umbrella organisation of employers in the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria.