Nigerian lawmakers have passed a constitutional reform bill that will allow states to supply electricity in Africa’s most populous country, breaking the monopoly of the federal government.
The draft bill is part of a number of legal reforms to the West African nation’s constitution that the country’s Senate and House of Representatives voted on Tuesday. Majority of members of both chambers agreed to alter the provisions of the 1999 Nigerian constitution “to allow states generate, transmit and distribute electricity in areas covered by the national grid” according to tweets by both houses.
The bill, which still requires the endorsement of two-thirds of lawmakers in Nigeria’s 36 states, before presidential assent, could diversify the sources of electricity supply in a nation noted for its perennial power shortages.
“Only bills which enjoyed passage in both chambers would be transmitted to the state houses of assemblies for concurrence, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, said in an emailed statement.
While Nigeria has an estimated 13,000 megawatts of installed electricity generation capacity, only 7,500 megawatts of that is available and less than 4,000 megawatts is dispatched to the grid each day for its more than 200 million people.