REA Seeks FG, NASS Support to Power 80m Nigerian Homes

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The Managing Director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mr Salihijo Ahmad, has said the agency would need $2.482 billion to provide access to electricity for majority of the 80 million Nigerians who are currently without electricity in the next 10 years.

Speaking during a workshop organised in Abuja for members of the Senate, tagged: ‘Electrification Programmes: Legislation, Implementation and Sustainability’, Ahmad who listed the achievements of the agency, said that with better funding and collaboration, the REA can do a lot more.

The programme, according to Ahmad, was to intimate the lawmakers about activities of the agency and collaborate in terms of legislation, implementation and sustainability of the rural electrification programmes.

Ahmad added that from the estimation of the REA, 72.7 million people would have access to electricity through 23,457 power grid projects, 7,882 mini-grids, and 14,117 SHS units with the work its currently doing.

He listed some of the agency’s achievements as the energising of 13,000 shops across economic clusters in four states under Energising Economies Initiative (EEI); 12 communities with 19,000 Solar Home Systems (SHS) through REF and

Under the Energising Education Programme (EEP), he noted that 37 federal universities and seven university teaching hospitals had been achieved and the training 180 interns from nine universities with the construction of 1,052 projects.

“There is a need for better funding of the agency, as well as the strengthening of financing and business models,” he stressed.

In their separate remarks, the Senate President, Mr. Ahmed Lawan and the Minister of State, Power, Mr Goddy Jedy-Agba, noted that off-grid solution remains the best way to reach the unserved in Nigeria’s rural areas.

Lawan, who was represented by the senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, noted that laws play a critical role in the path towards achieving nationwide access to electricity, stressing that power remains one of the enabling components of national development.
“Though we have recorded successes, I must confess that we are still quite far from our desired destination with millions of Nigerians having no access to reliable electricity,” Lawan stated.

Lawan added that the federal government as well as the members of the ninth national assembly had exemplified the willingness as well as the capacity to deliver on the objectives of nation-building as it concerns the supply of power to all Nigerians.
“While we optimise the on-grid option as the primary option for electricity access in Nigeria, the federal government of Nigeria is also aware of the need for decentralised deployment of electricity infrastructure to serve our constituents across the country using off-grid solutions,” he stated.

In his remarks, Jedy-Agba, posited that President Muhammadu Buhari was strategically targeting more policies and interventions in the power sector, especially with the recent announcement of the president to deploy 5 million solar-based connections across Nigeria through the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP).

“The grid continues to provide majority of Nigerians with their energy needs. However, it is obvious that the grid will not adequately cater to the energy needs of Nigeria and Nigerians. Over 80 million Nigerians lack access to reliable electricity.

“To change this narrative, we must continue to strategically deploy renewable, off-grid technologies to power Nigeria, one community at a time.

“We must continue to collaborate to do all that it takes to ensure that Nigeria’s massive renewable energy resources are efficiently utilised to energise communities, schools, businesses and other critical sectors across Nigeria,” he said.
The Chairman Senate Committee on Power, Gabriel Suswan , in his remarks, opined that with the right funding, policies and enabling environment, the target set by the government was achievable.

“The senate committee on power is willing and ready to work with REA so as to achieve the mandate of electrifying every rural Nigeria through the programmes that they operate, mostly through capital appropriation” he stated.