Nigeria Requires N942bn to Connect 80m to Power Grid

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· Gbajabiamila laments Limited Access to power Supply

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The federal government yesterday disclosed that it would require at least $4.915 billion, an equivalent of 942 billion, to connect over 80 million Nigerians to power sources nationwide.

With this figure, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila noted that the federal government was deeply concerned about the lack of access to electricity by a large number of Nigerians.

The Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Mr Salihijo Ahmad gave the figure at a workshop the agency organised for lawmakers in Abuja at the weekend.

At the workshop are the Minister of State for Power, Mr. Goddy Jedy-Agba the Chairman, House Committee on Power, Magaji Aliyu, among others.

REA’s managing director disclosed that connecting over 80 million Nigerians to power sources “will require $2.2 billion, $235 million and $2.48 billion (about N942 billion) respectively.”

Ahmad, therefore, called for better funding for the agency to enable it reach some of the over 80 million Nigerians without power supply.

He explained that there “is a need for better funding of the agency as well as the strengthening of financing and business models. There’s also a need to strengthen internal capacity and build foundational and advanced skills to drive the REA mandate better.

“Although the grid system is important, there is a need for beneficial policies targeted at the off-grid market to accelerate electrification and improve service quality,” the managing director said.

He reiterated that the target of the agency was to reach 23,457 clusters of approximately 41 million people via grid extension by 2030, serve 26.2 million through mini grids and reach 5.5 million persons through solar home systems.

Gbajabiamila, who was represented at the workshop by the chairman of the house committee on power, explained that the situation was even more worrying for those who live in rural areas and are completely cut off from all sources of power supply.

He said that the lawmakers would continue to advocate the right policies and their effective implementation to get reliable power to rural areas across the country using the most efficient and cost-effective methods.

He observed at the workshop that the federal government “is concerned about the lack of access to electricity in the country, especially in our rural areas.

“This brought about the enactment of the Electricity Power Reform Act (ESPRA), 2005. The Act gave birth to the Rural Electrification Agency, mandated to provide reliable electricity to unserved and underserved areas across the country.

“The legislature’s doors are always open to programmes that are in the best interest of the people we serve. We will work with the executive, the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in this industry to achieve this common electrification goal through the REA,” he said.

He described reliable power supply as critical to the economy, Gbajabiamila said the lawmakers would continue to provide the enabling environment for the agency to do more towards electrifying unserved Nigerians.

Minister of State for Power, Mr. Goddy Jedy-Agba, in his remarks said that President Muhammadu Buhari was strategically targeting more policies and interventions to revamp the power sector.

The minister said the recently announced intervention of the president to deploy 5 million solar-based connections across Nigeria through the Economic Sustainability Plan “is one of such valuable initiatives.

“While the grid continues to provide the majority of Nigerians with their energy needs, it is obvious that it will not adequately cater to the energy needs of over 80 million who lack access to reliable electricity.”