Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Ministry of Power has disclosed that the federal government is set to deploy part of the N2.3 trillion Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) coordinated by the Office of the Vice President, to provide solar power for at least 5 million homes.
The government yesterday noted that it was also promoting the mini-grid regulation made by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) in collaboration with the World Bank to power 300,000 homes and 30,000 local businesses.
Speaking during the inauguration of the first 12KWP Volsus Solar for Health (VSFH) mini-grid and unveiling of the sustainable energy magazine at the Karu Primary Healthcare Centre in Abuja, the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Goddy Jedy-Agba, said the government would now devote more attention to rural electrification throughout the country.
The project also came with a 58KWA battery bank, solar power refrigerators and cooling systems to ensure that vaccines are well preserved for effective routine immunisation.
Jedy-Agba explained that the move was motivated by the need to empower those who live in the rural areas, and ensure that their small-scale businesses thrive, saying the rural communities are more likely to pay their electricity bills without complaining than those in urban areas where power operators are tackling the challenges of energy theft and meter bypass.
“This government is promoting a holistic development agenda, and will continue to provide power for under-served communities in Nigeria because this will encourage the people who live outside the towns and cities to engage in small businesses and preserve farm produce by processing them.
“To emphasise the focus the government is giving to electrifying rural communities, there are plans under the N2.3 trillion funds for the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) being coordinated by the Office of the Vice President to provide Solar Home Systems (SHS) to five million homes across un-served rural communities in Nigeria,” he explained.
Additionally, the minister noted that the ministry of power had set up a committee to restructure and provide in-depth oversight for its agencies to ensure that it delivers on the provision of improved and sustainable power supply to Nigerians.
He said through the mini-grids projects, REA aims to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable electricity to 300,000 homes and 30,000 local businesses, plus the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) which has inaugurated the first mini-grid under the performance-based grant.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Volsus Energy Limited, Mr. Tomiwa Bayo-Ojo, in his remark, described the event as epochal, saying the company would continue to promote rural and community-based electrification as a means of boosting access to electricity in underserved and unserved places in Nigeria.