The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has announced gotten a $200 million fund from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to power 105,000 households which could benefit over 500,000 people in Nigeria.
Ahmad Salihijo, Managing Director, REA, disclosed this on Tuesday, stating that the Federal Government in its bid to improve energy access for rural communities has secured a $200 Million AFDB investment to develop the off-grid sector of the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP-AFDB).
Salihijo said that the NEP is comprised of four components which include; Solar Hybrid Mini Grids at $70 million, Energy-Efficient Appliances for Productive Use at $20 million, Phase 3 of the Energizing Education Program at $100 million, and Technical Assistance and capacity building at $10 million .
“The Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) is not new. It is already the largest single investment stream in Nigeria’s off-grid sector addressing the energy access challenge through mini-grids, the solar home systems and the Energizing Education Program (EEP) of the Federal Government”.
“We have now clearly shown the abundant opportunities and the gain in shifting focus from the grid-based energy to delivering renewable, off-grid solutions to Nigerian communities”.
“These initiatives are making a difference in how energy access objectives are fulfilled sustainably, while at the same time, making a difference in the lives of the Nigerian people that were unserved or underserved”.
The Minister of State, Power, Goddy Jeddy Agba in his remark commended AfDB for the partnership Agab who referred to the success story of Rokota Mini Grid in Niger State, executed by REA with World Bank’s funding in 2019, Agba said, “If we could have many of those things done across the country, we could have a lot to shown in a very short time.”
The Acting Vice President, Power Energy, Climate and Green growth Complex, AfDB, Wale Shonibare said that Nigeria needs to connect 500,000 to 800,000 households per year to achieve the electricity for all target by 2030 in line with the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) as 80 million Nigerians lack access to sustainable and affordable electricity.
Shonibare noted that although Nigeria’s power sector was privatized in 2013, it still struggles to generate 4,000 megawatts (MW) for the Nigeria population, leaving 80million without access to power. “With the improvement in off grid technology, there is now a means to reach unserved and underserved communities”.
He said “AfDB is providing the $200m fund for REA to service four components that will provide solar hybrid power for 250 sites, Productive Use Appliances (PUA) for deployment across mini grid sites, powering eight federal universities and institutional strengthening for REA to improve on its capacity”.
The Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmed Zakari reiterated that the president Buhari’s administration is committed to lift 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years, saying agency like REA could help drive that ambition. “When we talk about 80million Nigerians not having access to energy, this is a problem that could create other problems”.
Zakari representing the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, said that that NEP has the potential to greatly impact on Nigeria’s economic and social development while ensuring that the provision of power in a way that will have a minimal negative impact on the environment.
“Energy access remains the second most important enabler of economic development and we know that every Nigerian needs light whether it is in the classroom or the hospital or the University”.
He said that the current energy access gap is a huge issue, adding that with current economic condition, the investments will go a long way in delivering the much-needed sustainable energy to 105,000 households, 24,500 micro, small and medium enterprises in communities off the national grid.
“The significant investments will go a long way in helping us deliver much-needed sustainable energy to 105,000 households, 24,500 micro, small and medium enterprises in communities off the national grid. It would also help in energizing eight federal universities, thus improving the environment for tertiary education in the country”.
“The Nigeria Electrification Project would also help Nigeria achieve its goals towards gender parity, by working to ensure that at least 20 percent of the households and businesses benefitting from this partnership are headed or owned by women. The project also aims to train 160 female students on renewable energy”.
Umaru Maza Maza, Chairman of the REA Board, in his remark said that the board will do all within its power to achieve its mandate as spelt in the Electric Power Sector Reform Act 2005 and the RESIP as approved by President Buhari in 2017.
The Head, project Management Unit of the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) at AfDB, Kenny Amuwe said the PUA will be deployed to existing REA mini grid sites before August 2020 to boost economic growth.
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