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I recently listened to the #Nigerian politics Weekly podcast on the problems with the Nigerian electricity sector, among other things. One of the guests said that we should not fall for the trap of thinking that the market can solve #Nigeria’s power problems. Another went on to say that said the problem with the industry is the lack of cost effective tariffs. To rebut, the first guest said, “even in the US, electricity prices are fixed, and though the generation companies (GENCOs) and distribution companies (DISCOs) in Nigeria have been privatized is the problem any better?”

I would like to…


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Image source: BBC

By Adedamola Ogunbewon

I recently completed a free Udemy course by Chale institute titled “African Ideas of Liberty”, this course is laced with important lessons about indigenous Africa; how they thought about liberty, short stories, proverbs, poems etc. that represent their intent to develop peaceful societies with liberty as its core.

Firstly, it should be noted that ideas of liberty and Africa may seem like an oxymoron, considering that most countries in modern Africa are governed by ideas that are closer to authoritarian, command and control system than they are to liberty.

According to the 2019 Human Freedom Index report


We start with Lagos

I recently saw this tweet that has come to embody economic policy in Lagos and the whole of Nigeria today. The government taxes anything that moves!

Recently the Lagos State government imposed some new regulations upon e-hailing taxi services like Uber and Bolt. In the document released by the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation titled “Guidelines for Online Hailing Business Operation of Taxi in Lagos State 2020,” e-hailing services are to pay 10% on revenue generated for every trip to the Lagos state government.

The new guidelines also require operators to “pay a provisional license fee of N10,000,000.00 for…


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A Nigerian Hospital. Image source: Business Day.

They are the cause of its terrible state and not the solution. Dr. Nwaizu Tochukwu explains in this timely piece.

From poor health infrastructure, expensive and inaccessible health care services to inadequate health workers, and poor patient care it is clear that Nigeria’s health care sector is in a hellish state.

According to WHO, Nigeria ranks 187 out of 195 countries in world health care delivery. Maternal mortality rate is 917 deaths/100,000 live births; ranking the nation 4th highest in the world. Infant mortality rate is 69.7 deaths/1000 live births ranking 8th out of 225 nations in the world. There’s also a short supply of physicians; WHO standard is 1:600 i.e. 1 doctor for 600 patients. In Nigeria, it is…


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Senator Dino with DINO 03.

“What did the Igbo man ask the lamb in distress? Lamborghini.” Says a tweet from the account of former Nigerian senator, Dino Melaye, showing a picture of him sitting on the bonnet of a Lamborghini. “Don’t leave me,” another Twitter user replied to his tweet. This was Dino’s contribution to the now global social media #dontleaveme challenge, started by Nigerian comedian Josh2Funny.

Dino on Twitter

This is the kind of politician Dino is. He participates in social media challenges, performs quasi-original songs on stage, and has a whole hit club banger named after him, whose music video he appears in…


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A worker at a mini grid construction site

Opportunities for solar homes systems (SHS) companies and mini grid developers in developing countries in these trying times.

Some weeks ago, Abiye Geoffrey called and said, “dem don allow us move,” which means “we have been allowed to go” in West African Pidgin (WAP). A trailer or what Americans would call a “semi,” carrying a bulldozer we rented to the construction site of one of our renewable energy based mini grids (or microgrids, as they are called in the United States) and all the personnel onboard had been detained by the police for flouting stay-at-home mandates by the government. Abiye was calling me to let me know that they had been allowed to continue to the site after…


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Image source: Aly Song/Reuters

As the coronavirus eats through the fabric of our societies like a cankerworm, it teaches us some fundamental lessons about our economy. We ignore these lessons at our own peril.

British economist Lionel Robbins defines economics as “the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses.” What does this mean? It means scarcity is a fact of life in an economy. Humans must utilize the scarce resources they have at their disposal towards, among many competing needs, their most pressing needs. Without scarcity, in the words of American economist Thomas Sowell, “there would be no need to economize — and therefore, no economics.” This is not trivial. For example, water is a scarce resource; it can be used for drinking, bathing, cooking, making beverages, swimming, etc., but…


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An electric substation

Price controls.

In Nigeria only 59% of people have access to electricity, that is only about 110 million Nigerians have wires that connect them to the national electric grid. And those people only have electricity for about 35.8 hours of electricity every week and experience on average 32.8 outages a month, according to the World Bank.

There are also over 90 million without access to electricity. So why we all not have reliable access to electricity services? The very simple answer: price controls.

Currently the electric distribution companies (DISCOs) in Nigeria can only charge their customers what the government agency — Nigerian…


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We are out of hand sanitizers

When the demand for any commodity goes up, that is, when there are more people bidding for the same commodity, the price of that commodity goes up. Ignoring this law is like ignoring the law of gravity, you do so at your own peril. The law does not end there; it goes on to dictate that when the price of any commodity is high, the supply of that commodity increases. When this supply increases above demand, the price of that commodity decreases. It really doesn’t matter what commodity it is or what situation leads to the price increase in the…


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Foreign aid in the form of foodstuff to Africa

With over 730 million people in the world living below the poverty line according to the World Bank, one is led to ask “why is there poverty in the world?” or “why are some countries poor?” These are the wrong questions. Before you attempt to provide solutions, you must know the problem and to really know the problem, you need to ask the right questions.

This question — what causes poverty? — is asked a lot within the International Development industry today. The answer usually takes the form of “countries are poor because they have no capital and they have no capital because they are poor. Hence, we need to provide capital for them.” This leads to foreign aid and debt at below market rates to countries that are not creditworthy. Some of the world’s brightest minds in Washington, Paris, Brussels and London have made careers out of this, leaving destruction and suffering in their wake in the countries they touch.

With a wealth transfer…

Tam Alex

Electricity, Entrepreneurship and Economics.

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